Adoption. A word that I believe we are hearing in a more positive light in our country these days. I’m excited and thankful that this word is becoming more and more familiar to our ears. The reason I get excited about the word adoption is because more babies and older children are finding safe, warm, loving homes. The increase is slight; the statistics are hard to track. The numbers are lower than I wish. Even still, there was a slight increase in the number of children adopted through foster care from 2003 to 2013! According to an article from Adoptive Families Publication, over 18,000 American families successfully adopt babies within the US each year. In my own experience, I’m meeting more and more families who have chosen to adopt or do foster care. Exciting! Yes, but the needs are still high. That is why I’m so passionate about writing this post in honor and support of National Adoption Month!
Though they are improving slightly, the statistics are both staggering and painful. According to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, on any given day in the US, more than 423,000 children are in the foster care system and nearly 115,000 of them are available for adoption – just waiting for the right family to find them. Right now, STOP and THINK … we are talking children here! It’s pretty gut-wrenching. I believe that every person in America needs to read these statistics and know that this is a problem in our country. Africa is not the only place that has orphans; America does, too. Below are some facts and statistics that come from the CCAI (Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute) website:
In the US, 400,540 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19
As of 2011, nearly 60,000 children in foster care in the US are placed in institutions or group homes, not in traditional foster homes. Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19
Each year, over 27,000 youth “age out” of foster care without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. Source: Fostering Connections
These are just a few of the painful statistics regarding adoption and foster care in the United States; you can check out each of the websites above for more information. I know that not every family can or should adopt, BUT I believe that more families should find ways to support the children needing families in our country and other countries. Please consider how your family can play a role in helping children in our cities and our country. Consider supporting a family financially through their adoption, find ways to help foster parents in your community, get to know families who have adopted, volunteer at a local children’s shelter, or consider growing your own family through adoption. There is so much for all of us to do!
Get excited, and make a plan to visit the blog again this evening when we get to take this conversation closer to home. I had the opportunity to interview three Kansas City moms who have all played different roles in supporting kids by supporting adoption. My hope is that hearing these stories will encourage you to consider how you can play a role in adoption either domestically, internationally, or through the foster care system.