National Adoption Month

 

6,000 Texas Children Need Forever Families

6,000 Texas Children Need Forever Families

For 17 years, the United States of America has set aside the month of November, through Presidential Proclamation, as National Adoption Month.  President Bill Clinton was the first to do so on November 1, 1995 and President Barack Obama most recently did so on November 1, 2012.  National Adoption Month is a time to raise awareness of the plight of the more than 100,000 children, nationwide, who are legally free and available to be matched with families for adoption, but too frequently linger in the foster care system.

More than 6,000 of the children in the Texas foster care system are legally free to be adopted and are waiting to be matched with a forever family.  Texas adoption agencies were able to finalize more than 4,000 adoptions in 2011; however, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services was granted Permanent Managing Conservatorship of more than 5,500 children who were legally free to be adopted during the same year.  Also in 2011 more than 1,400 youth emancipated (were granted independence via court order or by turning 18 years of age and thus becoming legal adults) from the Texas foster care system without the benefit of being adopted by a forever family.

National data indicates that as many as 36,000 children, or 35% of the children waiting to be adopted as of September 30, 2011 had been in foster care for three or more years and more than 40% of those children had been in care for five or more years.  The National mean number of months that elapse from the point that these children become legally available to be adopted until they are adopted in 13.6 months.  Analysis of these numbers point to a foster care system that is full of children and youth who spend more than a quarter of their childhood in temporary housing, waiting for the safety and security that can only come from belonging and attachment to a forever family.

So that is the challenge, what is the solution?

Take a moment to consider the fear, uncertainty, and loneliness that these children experience daily while they wait.  They live in a world of limbo, unable to state with certainty where they will spend their next birthday, who they will call Mom, and where they will return “home” on summer break from college.  Many of these children have suffered abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation that the rest of us only hear about as something that happens to someone else, in a neighborhood that might as well be on another planet.  Many of these children were born with special medical or developmental needs.  The reality is that these children hurt, cry, laugh, sing, dance, play, and long for the caring love that can only come from a committed, permanent, forever parent . . . just like all children.  But they are stuck, often labeled and stigmatized, in the system that was designed to save them from the trauma of their past.

To be clear, these children are in need of Heroes;  those among us who are courageous enough to overcome our fears and apprehensions.  Heroes like you, who stand in the gap alongside a waiting child, holding them tightly while they accept their past and embrace their future, sharing in their pain and the burden of their fear as a forever family.  To learn more about how you can own your inner Hero and become a forever family for waiting children click here.

While many of us are not in a position in our lives to embrace our inner Hero and become a forever family for a waiting child, we can all awaken our inner Champion and choose to give a waiting child the donation that empowers and supports a family to stand up and become a child’s forever family.  You have the power to give a waiting child the opportunity to leave the foster care system and experience the safety, security, and foundation of a forever family.

Whether you are a Hero or a Champion, you are the solution and they are waiting . . .