There are many different and growing efforts to increase the participation to support children in need, children who would benefit from being matched with family who will give their unconditional love. We know international adoption is not for everyone. We know that not everyone has the means to adopt. But there are many ways to help: fostering, hosting, advocating, fundraising, networking, and praying. For this post I would like to provide awareness of the foster care system.
In 2011, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families identified 400,507 children were in the American foster care system. The same year 50,516 were adopted with public child welfare agency involvement. The foster care system has several goals which include:
- Reunify with parent(s) or principle caretakers
- Place with other relatives
- Provide guardianship
- Long-term Care and adoption.
A friend met with us a to learn more about our experience in adoption. She asked why we adopted our boys from Korea and China. She asked what we knew about other international and domestic programs. After our discussion she and her husband did more research and decided to pursue adoption through the Wisconsin foster care system. They attended an informational session and 6 months later had a completed home study and were licensed in the foster care adoption program. The program did a lot to help the couple identify the needs of their family along the way. When the matching process began they were able to review brief profiles of children and submit their home study if the kids and their situation appeared to be a match. They identified two siblings that appeared to be a perfect match! Once the couple was selected by the children’s county case worker as a possible match, they had an initial meeting where everyone agreed on moving forward with placement.
The two children were living with a foster family experienced in transitioning children between living situations and who were a wonderful resource. After a month of visits and preparation, the kids moved in to their future forever home. Our friends are thrilled that, as they suspected, they were all a wonderful match for one another. The children went to live with them as they began the process to adopt the young boy and girl. The process and system had its ups and downs and took 17 months from move-in day to adoption. Some experiences take longer or may be shorter. Our friends are strong self-advocates who kept the ball rolling until a few weeks ago when a judge officially made them the parents of the two siblings.
They received a lot of support on their journey-case workers, the foster parents, their family, other foster/adoptive families and so many who offered support. The process was the result of a community. There are many roles one can participate in the foster care system who will make a world of difference in a young person’s life
To learn more supporting foster care:
About foster care adoption at AdoptUSKids: http://www.adoptuskids.org/
Join discussion groups, such as Adoptive Families Circle: http://www.adoptivefamiliescircle.com/blogs/
Contact your state’s child welfare agency. This is Wisconsin’s agency site: http://wiadopt.org/
Learn more about adoption with organizations like the Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption: https://davethomasfoundation.org/