|Posted on December 7, 2015 at 8:00 AM|
You are interested in adoption and you want to adopt NOW? I get calls regularly from families who want to know how to expedite the match process because they have made the decision to adopt, and they are concerned it will take a year or two to meet their new family member. My response is always, "Have you considered adopting through the foster care system?" According to the Child's Bureau/Child Welfare Information Gateway (https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/foster.pdf), "of the estimated 238,280 children who exited foster care during FY 2013, twenty-one percent (21%) were adopted." That means more than 50,000 foster children were adopted during the year 2013! That is amazing!
Another interesting fact ... according to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (https://davethomasfoundation.org/adopt/about-foster-care-and-adoption/), 81 1/2 million Americans have considered adoption. If only one in 500 of these Americans adopted, EVERY waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family!
In the United States, there are more than 100,000 children in the foster care system LEGALLY FREE FOR ADOPTION! Unfortunately, every single year more than 20,000 age out of foster care without ever finding their forever family. (https://davethomasfoundation.org/learn/research/)
I had the opportunity to listen to a young lady involved in the Florida Youth SHINE program speak in April at the annual American Academy of Adoption Attorneys conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. I sat there and cried as she told her story. She told of the trauma that she endured early in her life, how she was removed from her biological family (which family was supposed to love her, support her and build her up but yet had failed her miserably by abusing her for years!). She told about how her brother was placed in a home and was ultimately adopted out of foster care, but his forever family did not wish to adopt her because of the trauma that she was VICTIM to! This family chose to separate a sister from her brother because she was victimized more than her brother was. While she was pleased that the brother that she had nurtured and cared for over a very long period of time would have a "family," it broke her to be told that she was not wanted. The weekend of the conference, she was graduating from college. She made the statement, "I just want someone to love me and tell me that they are proud of me!" Her achievement was tremendous but she had absolutely no family to support her or cheer for her. She had no family to return home to over the holidays when her college was closed. She was deprived of the permanency and stability that should have been afforded to her, and it was so unfair. (You can learn more about Florida Youth SHINE here: http://www.floridayouthshine.org/.)
My husband and I are actively licensed as foster parents. We have been blessed with three placements over the past several years and we anticipate many more placements over the next several years. We love providing a family for kiddos who need a family, whether it is for a couple of days or weeks or forever! I speak with many individuals who are concerned that they will not bond with a child who is not biologically theirs. Guess what!?! You will!!! I also speak with many individuals who say that they could "never" do foster care because "it would be too hard." Guess what!?! THAT IS THE POINT! While it may sound harsh, you must realize that life isn't about what others can do for YOU but about what YOU can do for OTHERS. Once you embrace this reality, you will be amazed to see the strength that you have! You will learn JOY unlimited! Children in foster care deserve a family. They deserve "forever." They deserve to hear someone who loves them say, "I am so proud of you!" So, if you are considering adoption, consider adopting from social services. There are 100,000 plus children who are already LEGALLY FREE for adoption simply waiting for their forever family, and any one of them would love to hear "You have been chosen!" Become that forever family for a waiting child today!