We at West Michigan Partnership for Children (WMPC) believe that all children need care, love, security and stability, and for most children in foster care, reunification with family is the best option for a permanent and loving home. We were honored to host Kent County’s first annual Family Reunification Day in collaboration with the Kent County District Court- Family Division and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on Monday, June 10th, 2019. This was one of many celebrations occurring throughout the State of Michigan in honor of National Family Reunification Month in June.
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanagh led with an inspiring keynote highlighting the importance of family preservation. She showed her support for the family courts, social workers, attorneys, foster parents, biological parents and the community. As a parent herself, she recognized, parenting is truly the hardest job….”. After congratulating the Reunified families, she ended her speech by acknowledging their hard work and giving them an uplifting statement: “you [Reunified biological families] overcame adversity to be together, and you are true superheroes to your children”
Kent County’s Family Reunification Day celebrated the accomplishments of families who overcame challenges to successfully and safely reunify. Our Hero Families; Peter Anyak and Demond Applewhite with Shaquita Smith, shared their journey towards reunification with the crowd. This emotional rollercoaster left them and everyone in that building with tears of joy. Their stories highlighted the trials and tribulations, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad; ultimately leading towards being back together. “In times like this you feel like God has forgotten about you”, Peter states, but encourages others in this situation to remain hopefull and to keep their faith. Their stories inspired us all to continue this important work of bringing families together.
We also celebrated the foster parents who supported, encouraged, and served as partners to parents in this process and understand that reunification would not be possible without their love and support. Reunification takes work, commitment, and investment of time and resources by parents, family members, social workers, foster parents, service providers, attorneys, courts and the community.
We are so grateful to everyone who came to celebrate these resilient families, and for the workforce that walked alongside families on their path to reunification.. We are also grateful for our community partners, and in particular, John Ball Zoo which sponsored the event and made it possible for us to celebrate together.
Please enjoy this short video of Reunification Day; and smile with us as we reminisce on this beautiful day.