Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Day for Wednesday's Child. KSL Telethon.

Sometimes life throws us a bunch of lemons and then you know the rest....we are suppose to make lemonade.   But what if you can't...what if you need someone to teach you how to make it?  
 There are children every year who to no fault of their own are thrown a whole bunch of lemons. These children are Utah's children...they are waiting to be adopted...waiting to be loved.  They need someone in their life to take them and help them make "their lemonade" and teach them that life can be sweet and they can be successful!   
Today on KSL TV they are holding a special Telethon to help these children who wait for families.   You can help by calling and donating.   Even if you can only afford a few dollars it helps.  Call to donated 801-237-CHILD or you can donate online at the Adoption Exchange website
My little guy we adopted from foster care as an infant.
Do you have a little love to share?
View some of Utah's waiting children by going here.
There are many missconceptions about adopting waiting children.  
 Here are some myths you might have heard along with the real deal on the topic!
Source: Utah Adoption Exchange
MYTH: It costs a lot of money to adopt.
Most adoptions do cost, but adopting from foster care is nearly free. The home study and training are paid for by the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), so basically by the tax payers. The family must pay for all of the things necessary to get their home ready for another child and they also need to pay an attorney to finalize an adoption – but they will get that money reimbursed. What most people don’t know is that the child will also have a Medicaid card until they are 18 years old. DCFS will also help the family cover costs associated with the child’s special needs that are not covered by Medicaid. Part of the difference is children in foster care are waiting for families and in most other types of adoption families are waiting to adopt the few infants that are available here and or abroad.
MYTH: I have to own my home to adopt.
To adopt from foster care you do not need to own your own home. But you do need to have enough room to have an additional child come into your home and you need to be fairly stable. The children in foster care have usually had a lot of instability in their lives they need stability.
MYTH: I’m too old to adopt.
Utah law requires a person to be 10 years older than the child they adopt. That being said the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) may not be willing to place a 2 year old with a couple that are in their late 50’s or 60’s unless they are a relative to the child. But parents in this age group are great for teens and school age children.
MYTH: I’ve heard all of the children in foster care have a lot of problems?
Children who are in foster care waiting for an adoptive home have been removed from their homes because of the issues of their biological parents. Almost always they have suffered from some form of abuse and or neglect. These children are resilient and sometimes have a hard time learning to trust anyone after what they have been through but like all of us they want and need the love that a family can provide.
MYTH: If I foster a child I’ve heard that it takes years before I can adopt them?
Currently the average time a child spent in foster care before they were adopted is 18.4 months. The courts try to move as quickly as possible but they also need to allow time for the biological family to make the necessary changes to be reunified with their children. It is a hard balance between the rights of the biological parents and the need for permanency for the children. Unless a case goes on appeal finalization of an adoption can occur as soon as parental rights are terminated as long as the child has been in the adoptive home for at least six months.
MYTH: The only children available for adoption are older teens.
It is true that many of the longest waiting children are older teens, but the average age of a child in Utah that is adopted from foster care is 5.2 years of age; once a child reached the age of nine their chance to be adopted diminished dramatically.
MYTH: If I adopt a child from foster care can their biological family still come and take them back?
Children who are adopted from the foster care system have had parental rights terminated or the biological parents have relinquished custody to DCFS. Initially when coming into care DCFS takes great care to try to locate kin or close family friends that might take the children in. Usually by the time a child is being publically recruited for all of those options have been explored. Once an adoption is finalized in court no one from the biological family can take them from their adoptive family.

STATISTICS ABOUT FOSTER CARE ADOPTION
Source: Utah Adoption Exchange
  • 53% of children adopted from foster care are adopted by their foster parents.
  •  The average age of a child adopted from foster care in Utah is age 5.1.
  •  The average age of a waiting child is 8.4.
  •  Once a waiting child reaches the age of 9 the likelihood of them being adopted drops dramatically.
  •  11% of waiting children leave the system at age 18 each year without ever finding a family.
  • The Adoption Exchange has placed nearly 7,000 children since opening in 1983.
  •  Boys wait on average longer than girls.
  •  There are over 104,000 children waiting in foster care nationally to be adopted.

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A few years ago I wrote a few thoughts about Utah's waiting children after attending the Heart Gallery unveiling.  I posted it on my blog and later it was printed in The Adoption Exchange newsletter.
I thought I would share it with you today.
Please take time and visit KSL today to donate and to learn more about these amazing children!

Touched
Written by Brenda Horrocks


Years ago when we first started the adoption process, I sent an email to Delilah.  You know the voice of KOSY's Love Songs at night.  I asked Delilah to play the song from An American Tale "Somewhere Out There."  I shared with her our hope of finding the birth mother we were meant to find.

I wanted to do something to reach out to the universe in some way (strange as it may seem) saying we are here and we are praying for this special unknown girl . . . at least unknown to us. This song has a special place in my heart because of this experience and my feelings back then.
Last night, I had the privilege of attending the Heart Gallery 2010 Unveiling. It was held at the Utah Capital Building Rotunda. If you have ever been in this building, you know the beauty it holds. But last night, nothing compared to the beauty of photographs of Utah's waiting children. The photos were framed and each placed on an easel. They were situated around the rotunda and they touched my heart deeply! Each child is unique . . . each child hoping for a permanent family.
I had the amazing experience of sitting close to a beautiful 17-year-old girl who is hoping for a family. We talked about some of the things she likes . . . unlike most girls her age, she is not a huge fan of "Twilight" books or even "Harry Potter" books . . . when I asked who her favorite author was she replied "Richard Paul Evans." I have to admit I was surprised; I  don't think most girls at 17 would give this answer. I was very impressed with her maturity. It left me with a desire to learn more about this girl.
After everyone was settled in and seated, the ceremony began. The ceremony consisted of introducing each child's photograph and the photographer who gave his or her time and talents to create the photograph. I had the privilege of sitting in for two of the children, Ceici & Zackkary. Their photographer Linda Boyd presented their photos to me. I was so grateful I was asked to help. It meant a great deal to me to be involved, even in this most simple act.
At the end of the ceremony, a young man who had been adopted from foster care stood up and sang "Somewhere Out There."  A very talented young man . . . it was a beautiful addition to this night. As he sang, I thought of all the hope I had in my heart years ago as we started the adoption process.  I thought of the email to Delilah and remembered the feelings and desires of my heart. I then thought of this young lady sitting near me who is waiting for a family. I thought of the children whose pictures I was holding and all the many faces of children waiting for a family, and I realized once again how similar our stories are. I was hoping for a permanent family. . . someone to call my own . . . exactly what these children are hoping for. . . someone to call their own . . . a place to lay their head every night and know they are loved. We are the same in so many ways. The difference lies in what we can do about it. We can give more money, be more proactive and reach out to our family, friends and community to help in our adoption efforts. These children cannot-- they have to rely upon other adults to help them. Their hope rests on workers, photographers and events to help them find their forever family. Just as we pray for a child . . . they pray for parents. They have to wait for hearts to change and minds to open. They are forced to "wait."We don't have to.

Please take time to look at websites featuring the 123,000 children who are waiting in the U.S. Let's help these children by spreading their hope!! Let's help them by finding ways to increase their chances. Let's reach out to our local heart galleries and state authorities and support their activities and events. Let's volunteer some of our own time educating our communities about waiting children. |

Let's be their voice!
As we traveled home last night, I realized how fitting it was that they held the unveiling at the State Capital building. These are the State's children.  This building belongs to their parent. This beautiful building belongs to the people . . . in a way.  WE are the parents to these children. Let's help them so that this time next year their portraits will be hung on a wall in their family room . . . their own family's room!
As adoptive parents, we all know what it is like to hope for a family.  Wouldn't it be amazing to see their hope rewarded with a special miracle all their own!

I will be praying for this. . . I hope you will join me!

1 comment:

Becky said...

I love this post. AMAZING ! Good luck today. Love you!