One of the hardest things in life is said to be the ability to open one's life and home to another, to a stranger-but it can also be one of the most rewarding. The Community of Love Lutheran Church, of 117 North Fourth Street, Oxford, wants to celebrate and unite those who do it every day through adoption."It is our sincere intention to start a support group at our church in Oxford, under the guidance of Adoption Forum, in order to meet the needs of parties to adoption," said Linda Hettinger.

The church will be hosting an Adoption Forum on Sunday, September 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. with special guest speaker Robert Hafetz, vice-president of Adoption Forum and author of Not Remembered, Never Forgotten. Hafetz will be speaking on adoption issues for those whose lives have been touched by adoption in the Oxford area-such as adoptees, adoptive parents and birth parents.

Born into foster care in 1951, at the Door of Hope Salvation Army Booth Home, in Jersey City, New Jersey, Hafetz has a deep understanding of what adoption means to those involved.

Although he began his career as a commercial photographer in New York City in 1971, he soon changed gears and earned a bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Temple University late in life. This change sparked a new path and a deeper focus.

Hafetz has been a thriving force in the world of adoption services for many years and has dedicated his life to helping others in the adoption community, as well as people with disabilities.

During the past ten years, he has worked as an adjunctive therapist in the mental health system of Pennsylvania serving inpatient adults and adolescents in the residential treatment system. He was awarded the Bill Dayton Award for working with the physically disabled. He was the wheelchair weightlifting coach for McGee Rehabilitation Hospital, and his team holds two world records in the Para-Olympics. He was also a trainer for their quadriplegic rugby team.

Currently, Hafetz serves on the New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education (NJCARE) legislative team working to give adoptees access to their original birth certificates.

He has also been facilitating adoption workshops targeted to all members of the adoption society; adoptees, bonded first mothers, fathers, adopting families, school educators, and adoption professionals; along with teaching adoption parenting for The Pearl S. Buck Foundation and Abington Hospital's Info Parenting workshop series.

Hafetz, who has been married for 32 years and has raised three children, is clearly devoted to family-life and understanding the difficulties and joys of adoption. People of Oxford who have adopted, are looking to adopt, or have been adopted will benefit from this forum, as well as the support group that Community of Love Lutheran Church is forming.

Hafetz will be available to sign his book at the event. There is no admission charge.

For more on Robert Hafetz visit his website at Pathwaysinadoptions.com.

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