Do you feel the tug on your heart to open your home to a child in need? Whether you want to provide a temporary space for a child to land or a forever home, there are tons of resources in the Charleston area to guide you. From the initial training to support groups to medical care, we live in one of the most robust cities in the nation for adoption and foster care resources and services.
With these agencies to help, you never have to parent alone. Check out some of these resources to get your child and family the help you need.
If you are just getting started with adoption or foster care, the best place to reach out is Heartfelt Calling. They can help you submit your initial application to foster or adopt and coordinate the seemingly endless pages of paperwork needed to become licensed with your regional adoption office. Heartfelt Calling is also responsible for the statewide orientation and training required.
The phone number for Heartfelt Calling to get more information is (888) 828-3555.
Families who intend to work with an agency for their foster care training may need to reach out to that agency directly. This includes therapeutic foster parentings where additional training may be required. These can include the Bair Foundation and SC YAP among others.
Medical and Trauma-Informed Care
When it comes to medical care for your new child, you need someone who specializes in trauma-informed care. MUSC offers some of the most robust medical services, particularly for adoptive families.
If you bring home a child from overseas, their International Adoption Clinic downtown is one of the best options for a thorough medical workup. They are well-versed in potential issues your little one may face upon their arrival in your home. A post-adoption visit includes medical, labs, developmental, and behavioral assessments for your child along with long-term follow-up if needed.
On the other hand, many children come to Charleston families via the foster care system. MUSC also features a Foster Care Support Clinic that meets both in North Charleston and downtown. They act as primary care physicians and practice trauma-informed care. Even after an adoption has been finalized, the Foster Care Support Clinic continues to see them until adulthood.
For children who are just brought into the foster care system, Lowcountry Orphan Relief can be a great resource. They help with practical things a child might need as well as comfort items that can travel with them from home to home. Care kits are one of the areas where they shine, adding clothes, books, and even a stuffed animal to a travel bag.
Adoption and foster parenting can be a hard and sometimes isolating road to walk. A support group filled with fellow families who are walking the same path as you can be extremely helpful, especially as you run into red tape, behavior problems, and medical issues you may not have been prepared for. More seasoned parents can offer a listening ear and a sounding board for what you need to do next.
Here are the email addresses for the parent groups arranged by county.
Wraparound Services and Other Support
Another place you can look to for support, training, and financial help with your foster parenting or adoption is J1:27. They provide family support for both foster and adoptive families, monthly meetings, interest meetings, and even special training sessions on specialized topics.
Families that are struggling with their placements can also benefit from their wraparound services, helping you to build meaningful and long-term relationships.
They also offer a regular Parent’s Night Out where they provide childcare so that parents can drop the kids off, go on a date night, or just take some time away for a while to recharge from the difficult task of parenting. J1:27 also has The Chosen Project adoption grant for financial support.
Get the Help You Need
There are tons of resources in Charleston to give you the help needed to support your growing family. From support groups to clothing to childcare, Charleston is rich with resources for adoptive and foster families. If you have been thinking about fostering or adopting, know that you don’t have to do it alone. These resources exist to support you!