Rachael Wall has been working as an Adoptive Parent Liaison (APL) for Adoption Support for Kentucky-Virtual Support Program (ASK-VIP) just over 2 years. Something Wall loves about ASK-VIP is that it always evolving to meet the changing needs of Kentucky’s Foster and Adoptive Families.
“Although we offer support and training to the parents, that service ultimately helps support that entire family, making ASK a vital program to families throughout the state,” Wall said.
Read her Q&A below to learn about her work as an APL and the difference she makes in the lives of her support and training groups.
Q. How did you hear about the ASK-VIP program, and what moved you to become a facilitator?
A. I learned about ASK as a new foster parent and participated in ASK meetings for years. The support and training I received were crucial to my success as a foster/adoptive parent.
Becoming a facilitator was an exciting opportunity and I am grateful to be able to continue to provide support and training for other parents comparable to what I had received for so many years. Foster and adoptive parents have a vital role and their success is a direct reflection of the success of Kentucky’s children.
Q. Tell me about the work you do with the specialized group you facilitate – Single Parents Support Group – and why this group is important to you.
A. I believe ASK has hit the mark with specialized groups. After all, who else can understand the struggles and celebrate the successes better than someone who understands it personally. These specialized groups are wonderful resources available and provide support based on similarities of families and individuals.
Facilitating our Single Parent Support Group is something I look forward to each month. As a single mother of 4 children, I know firsthand some of the challenges and demands that go along with being a single parent.
Providing support and watching as parents support one another is an amazing experience. They not only relate to the day to day worries and challenges of single parenting but are also supportive in times of need and share in the excitement of one another’s triumphs.
Q. Tell me something you enjoy about being a facilitator.
A. There are so many things that I enjoy about being a facilitator, it is hard to choose just a few. I think first and foremost, I enjoy the relationships I have with my families. Whether I see them for one support group or training, or they revisit my groups frequently, I am always happy to see and interact with them, building a connection or even friendships. I also enjoy being able to provide a safe environment for parents to meet and engage in support or gain additional knowledge to help them on their journey as foster/adoptive parents.
Q. What does a typical support group/training group session consist of?
A. In my groups, we start with introductions and a challenge thought or question. We then move into the primary function of that specific group, whether it is support or training, allowing time for interaction and questions throughout. Even though I facilitate each group the same way, they are each unique. I delight in seeing what each family brings into the group and how it incorporates into the topic of discussion.
Q. What kind of lessons have you learned through being a facilitator?
A. I have learned many lessons and grown as an individual from being an ASK facilitator. My compassion for others and their individual experiences has expanded and my communication skills have been refined.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an ASK-VIP facilitator?
A. Becoming an ASK facilitator would be a great opportunity to grow personally as well as assist others. As an ASK facilitator, you have an essential role providing support and training to families that change the lives of so many children in Kentucky. This is a great opportunity to have an impact in your community and state.
Q. What benefits do the participants get from being in the ASK-VIP program?
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A. The ASK-VIP program is not only a great resource during challenging times, but also an innovative way to provide support and training to foster and adoptive parents all over the state. They have access to customized support and trainings as well as numerous options for scheduling. They are able to register online and can participate from the comfort of their own home. Most importantly is they have access to trained facilitators and the insurmountable knowledge and support from other foster and adoptive parents, which is a one of a kind experience.