Saturday, November 17, 2012

National Adoption Day

Today is National Adoption Day, designed to raise awareness about the many children in the foster care system and those waiting to be adopted 

  • 408,425 children in foster care in the United States
  •  more than 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.
  •  Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment.
  • The average child waits for an adoptive family for more than three years
  • 11 percent spend 5 years or more waiting for a family (43,083 children)
  • The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.
What happens to them?
  •   52,891 children are adopted from foster care
  •   Nearly 30,000 children reach the age of 18 without ever finding a forever family

Because of a job change 3 months ago, these statistics now have names and faces. At the time, I naively thought God was leading me into a job that would give me more flexibility with our children now and for the future when we adopt and bring home a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

While this has been somewhat true, He has mostly been opening my eyes and breaking my heart for the children. During supervised visitations with their parents seeking reunification, I see confusion, sadness, and the heartache. While counseling parents,  (parenting skills, domestic violence education, drug education), I sometimes feel a sense of hopelessness for both the parents and children...for the many obstacles, lack of resources, and the cycles that seem to repeat through generations. I pray for the Lord to help me show His love through kindness, firmness, and wisdom, and to speak the truth in love. 

The worst days are sitting in court and hearing there is no family available or willing to provide care of children. The better days are seeing biological parents make positive choices that bring them closer to reunification with their children. When there are no other options, the best is meeting foster families and others who are advocating for the children and praying to provide a permanent home and to be a "forever family."

A few of the ways to help care for children in the foster care system: 

Volunteer to be an advocate: 

National CASA

Be a "Safe Family" for children and families in crisis:

Safe Families :: Home

Foster care information (with links to each state):

National Foster Care & Adoption Directory Search

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