An annual Kinship Center holiday celebration in Seaside brought adoptive and foster families together for an evening of fun and sharing, as they reconnected with each other and with Kinship Center staff and volunteers.

On hand to manage the potluck food logistics was ‘Kinship Support Unlimited,’ a Salinas-based women’s auxiliary group; shown at right are members Mary Jane Vonnegut (l) and Michelle Grissom, who snatched a quick moment in the kitchen for a photo.

A special dancing version of musical chairs brought out the talents of kids of all sizes, and mom Deanna Prieto watched proudly as one of her children carried away the prize. Deanna has adopted three children through Kinship Center and been foster parent to 60. “I’ve seen 33 of our kids graduate from high school,” she says. Deanna never misses this annual Kinship Center party, the chance to spend time with old friends and visit with her family’s social worker.

“Kinship Center is the cream of the crop when it comes to services and support,” she says. “They do everything right. For example with all our children they’ve always made sure we have the same social worker; it makes such a huge difference. And the quality isn’t just about one person, it’s the whole organization. It’s just the way they do things.”

Also on hand toenjoy the fun was Kinship Center therapy dog Nestle (r), who spent some special moments with visiting friend hearing dog Seaton. Dogs, kids and parents went home tired, happy and inspired. “This was the best party ever,” said Kinship Center Placement Director Nancy Murphy, who spearheads each year’s celebration. “It was wonderful to see so many families having fun together.”

For information about Kinship Center’s adoption programs and services, and to view a short inspirational video, please click here.

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