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Aspiranet's open house demystifies adoption and foster care 

November is national adoption month, so it’s the perfect time for curious parents to learn more about what adoption and foster care are all about.

Sadly, though, it’s not all that easy to find useful information about adoption: a quick Google search for “SLO adoption” brings up the county’s (rather outdated looking) Department of Social Services website followed by about 30 pet adoption websites. What is a family looking to take in and care for a child to do?

Aspiranet, a California based foster care and adoption agency, is trying to make this type of education readily accessible for people. The nonprofit organization is holding an open house at its Grover Beach offices on Nov. 13, where county residents will learn about the ins and outs of adoption and foster care.

click to enlarge A LOVING FAMILY:  Because of Aspiranet, Kimberly Kurtzman (right) was able to realize her dream of becoming a parent. Kimberly adopted her daughter, Arianna, in 2013. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KURTZMAN FAMILY
  • A LOVING FAMILY: Because of Aspiranet, Kimberly Kurtzman (right) was able to realize her dream of becoming a parent. Kimberly adopted her daughter, Arianna, in 2013.

“The open house is going to be a very casual forum for people who are interested in finding out more information, or who want to talk to us individually,” said Aspiranet Core Programs Director Robin Ruddy. “Most of our staff will be here, so there will be time for people to break out and talk to individual staff members if they want.”

This type of education is important—adoption shouldn’t be a strange and mysterious thing. At its heart, adoption is all about finding loving homes for children in need.

According to Ruddy, Aspiranet’s goal is to make the adoption and foster care processes as simple and supportive as possible, for all parties involved.

“We work with families, we strive to meet the needs of children, and we provide support to those families,” Ruddy said. “That’s our big thing, we feel that we’re very supportive. We provide guidance, and we have a 24-hour on call system. We work hand-in-hand with families to provide for the needs of the kids.”

Aspiranet has been helping children find loving homes for 39 years. This year alone the agency finalized 230 adoptions and is working with an additional 300 children who are currently going through the adoption process.

People from all walks of life are encouraged to attend Aspiranet’s open house. “We believe there is not a special ‘type’ of family or person that will be a successful foster or adoptive parent,” Ruddy said. “But there are characteristics that provide a foundation for successful family relationships including patience, a love for children and parenting, flexibility, a willingness to learn, and commitment to the child.”

The adoption month open house will be held at the Aspiranet Central Coast office on 200 South 13th St. (suite 101) in Grover Beach on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Locals are also welcome to call Aspiranet at (877) 380-4376 and ask any questions over the phone. Or visit the organization’s website at

“Don’t be shy,” Ruddy said. “If you’re not sure you want to adopt or be a foster parent, you’re still welcome to check it out and get some information. We’re open to families of all walks of life, so come check it out.”


Fast fact

The holiday season is just around the corner! While this season is generally a fun time for most people, it can be very tough on people who have recently lost a loved one. That’s why Hospice SLO is once again hosting the annual Light Up a Life events in order to give the grieving an opportunity to pay remembrance to their lost friends and family.

There will be nine different ceremonies from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8 in towns and cities all across the county. Participants are invited to “purchase a lantern to illuminate the memory of a loved one or for someone living you wish to honor,” according to the event’s page at

Lanterns cost $15. The donors will also get the privilege of having their loved one’s name read aloud at one of the Light Up a Life ceremonies, and the name will be entered into the “remembrance book” available on the organization’s website.

One of the nine ceremonies will be a special pet-themed observance called Paws to Remember. The Pet Peace of Mind Ceremony will be held on Monday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. at the Hospice SLO office at 1304 Pacific St. The dates, times and locations for the other eight ceremonies are listed at


Intern Cliff Mathieson compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your business and nonprofit news to [email protected].

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