When you think about children what is the first thing that comes to mind? Smiling, laughing, hugs, happiness? Those are all great words to describe the way that kids make us feel. They make us feel loved, appreciated and needed—and it is our job to do the same for them. Although, sometimes a challenge, I will admit.
But what about those kids who have never had that return experience of being loved, nurtured, needed and appreciated? Yes, as sad as it is, those kids are out there and there are thousands of them. They are the kids that are in foster care.
Most of these kids grow up never having a family to count on. They move from home to home, never knowing how long they are going to be in one place. Most of them develop the idea of the perfect family, something that exists in their mind, and something that they think will probably never exist for them.
The children who are in the foster care system are stuck. They need people who want to provide them with a loving, caring family. People who will simply bring them in and show them what compassion is. Someone who will give them a forever family, no matter how old they are.
Would you consider adoption or fostering?
There is 428,000 youth in the U.S. foster care system and 112,000 are waiting to be adopted. AdoptUSKids maintains a national photo listing service for children waiting to be adopted. Since the project launched in 2002, more than 26,000 children who were once photo listed on adoptuskids.org have been adopted and nearly 39,000 families have registered to adopt through the website. Nevertheless, older youth are disproportionally represented–approximately 43% percent of children and youth photo listed on adoptuskids.org are between 15 and 18 years old, but only 17% of those adopted have been in this age group.
Adoptuskids.org is a resource to help you whether you’re just starting the process to foster or adoption, waiting for a placement, or looking for post-adoption resources. Most people may be eligible to adopt, regardless of marital status, age, income, or sexual orientation. You don’t need to own your own home, have children already, be young, wealthy, or a stay-at-home parent to adopt or foster.
There are many misconceptions about adoption such as cost, rules, and regulations. Many of them are just not true. If you are serious about learning more about fostering or adopting, please be sure to get information from a trusted resource. If you need help connecting with resources or a local agency contact AdoptUSKids or the foster care program in your State or Territory.
How to Adopt
- Common Myths About Adoption
- Deciding to Pursue Adoption
- Applying to Adopt
- Completing an Adoption Home Study
- Getting Approved to Adopt
- Envisioning Your Family
- Being Matched with a Child
- Receiving an Adoptive Placement
- Legalizing an Adoption
- Being an Adoptive Parent
How to Foster
- Common Myths About Foster Care
- Applying to Foster
- Completing a Foster Home Study
- Getting Approved to Foster
- Receiving a Foster Placement
- Being a Foster Parent
No matter what their age, youth need the love and stability that a family can offer. I hope that you will take a few minutes and check out the Adoptuskids.org site. Educate yourself about fostering and adoption. Read some success stories of those kids who have been adopted and how much of an impact it had on their life. Maybe today you can make a difference in the life of a child.
This post originally appeared on Reality Moms. It has been reprinted with permission.
Debbie Bookstaber lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two sons. She’s a #momprenuer who loves technology, toys, travel and anything that helps her squeeze more time with her children into her packed schedule. Debbie serves on several charitable boards, focusing on education and at-risk students. Find Debbie at Mamanista.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.