November marks the start of National Adoption Awareness Month. While all adoption-related issues are important, the focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care. During this month we also celebrate National Adoption Day, observed in courthouses across the nation, where thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.
There are currently over 123,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these youth are at risk of aging out of foster care without permanent family connections. Additionally, there are increased risk factors for teens in foster care such as human trafficking and homelessness.
Children’s Home & Aid believes that all vulnerable children, whatever their ages or circumstances, deserve safe, loving homes and the chance to love, to learn, to heal, to dream and to make their way in the world. We’re proud to have provided adoption services to children and families since 1883. Approximately 182 children were adopted from foster care into permanent families through Children’s Home & Aid this year. Our experienced adoption case workers carefully match prospective parents with children based on the individual needs of the child and the parent’s capabilities. These professionals serve to guide and support parents through the entire adoption process and beyond.
Children and youth in foster care have often experienced some form of trauma. The very act of being placed in foster care is traumatic for children, because it means the loss of their birth family and often friends, schoolmates, teachers, and everything that is familiar. As a result, it is vital that parents who adopt from foster care undergo specific training to understand the impact of trauma and help children heal. Children’s Home & Aid prioritizes this support for foster families – we provide counseling services, foster parent training and support groups, financial support for each foster child, and more.
“Our adoption support and preservation program is a statewide, grant-funded program that provides advocacy, counseling and support to adoptive families, all at no cost. It’s 100% free to the families and we provide services in their homes,” Melinda Squires, program manager in our Southern region says.
Children’s Home & Aid is participating in various events in our Southern and Rockford regions throughout the month to raise awareness. These include: A National Adoption Day event on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at the Winnebago County Justice Center.
We’ll continue recognizing this month by sharing adoption and foster stories from families and staff. Stay tuned for more!
Hear more from Melinda on the need for adoptive homes and more in the first of a five-part series on adoption from the Southern Illinoisan.
For additional information on our adoption and foster services, please visit: https://www.childrenshomeandaid.org/adoption-services/