July 21, 2017

St. Joan of Arc couple offers support group for adoption and fostering parents

By Natalie Hoefer

Cara and Josh Bach acknowledge that, with five adopted and fostered children spanning three ethnicities, their family is “very conspicuous.”

And because of that, says Cara, they often talk with people who have questions about fostering and adopting.

“There are so many families that we’ve talked to,” says Cara. “We always talk about how we feel that God places us on this path to kind of be like ministers in our backyard.”

Five years ago, shortly after adopting African-American infant twins (in addition to the daughter they adopted from Russia in 2005), the Bachs started the St. Joan of Arc Adoption and Fostering Support Group, named for the parish they are members of on the north side of Indianapolis.

The support group is open to anyone who has already fostered and/or adopted children, are in the process of doing so, or are considering that path. They meet monthly at a coffee shop during the school year, and occasionally during the summer.

“We just meet up, have tea or coffee, and there’s no specific topic—it’s just whatever is on everyone’s minds,” says Cara.

“This last time, all the families who came had black children, so we were talking about topics in the news. You talk about hair, what products to use, and how do we explain different things to our kids.”

The participants, which Cara says range from five to eight adults during the school year, share ideas for how to handle experiences unique to families with adopted and fostered children.

For instance, says Cara, sometimes parents of varied ethnic children “get questions where people are just rude. … Just because our family doesn’t look like yours doesn’t mean you have the right to ask those kinds of questions. So we’ll ask each other, ‘What do you say? Oh, that’s fabulous! I’m going to put that in my arsenal.’ ”

During the summer the group meets at the homes of different families, including the Bach’s.

“The most we ever had was 10 families, so you might have 17 kids running around,” Cara says with a laugh.

While Josh notes that it’s the moms who tend to meet most often, he is also open to meeting with men one-on-one. They tend to have different types of questions, he says.

“Three or four times, Cara has set up meetings for me and husbands of other women wanting to adopt, wanting a guy’s perspective,” Josh says.

“The guys are looking for security, making sure [the process] flows, making sure they can be the best father. They want to make sure they have that connection with their son or daughter. That connection piece is big: ‘If they’re not biologically mine, am I going to love them like they are?’ For men, that’s a genuine concern.”

Cara acknowledges that she and Josh “have helped so many families [discern] whether or not to adopt through the foster care system.

“I feel like God led us on the path for that, to help minister to those kinds of people.”

(For more information on the Bach’s support group for fostering and adoption, e-mail cbach9400@yahoo.com or call 317-418-0525.)

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