“Hi Mom. Hi Dad. I’m home!” Many children and parents eagerly await this joyful shout. It reflects the value of family, a loving home and a network of support and stability.
This simple phrase is one that hundreds of children awaiting parents yearn to say. And while some older children, sibling groups and kids with special needs may be successfully adopted, many more will not.
We should keep this mind not only during the holiday season of giving, but throughout the year. Foster care provides a temporary safe-haven, but it’s not enough. From a social, intellectual and even economic standpoint, adoption and an investment in support services for adoption yield dividends for all society, for generations to come.
Children Awaiting Parents, a nonprofit that has advocated on behalf of older foster care children for 45 years, recently launched the Donald J. Corbett Adoption Agency to expedite and support the successful, seamless adoption of older children into loving homes.
By helping families prepare for adoption, navigate its complexities and find the best match in an older foster care child, our new agency enhances CAP’s critical services to transition older children into a “forever family” before they age out of the foster care system.
Many children in foster care have experienced hardships that we cannot imagine. Children need love, safety and constancy just as much as they need food, water and shelter to grow and to thrive. When these elements are lacking, their pain is extraordinary; their vulnerability, greater; and their future, dark and uncertain.
Children who “age out” of foster care without at least one permanent parent frequently end up homeless, imprisoned or lost. A 2011 Brookings report finds children in long-term foster care are disproportionately represented among those who create disciplinary problems in schools, drop out of high school, become unemployed and homeless, bear children as unmarried teenagers, abuse drugs and alcohol and commit crimes.
But adoption steers children toward success by fulfilling core emotional needs and providing stable foundations. It drives down the costs we bear as a population for welfare, food stamps and the criminal justice system.
Stop by The Strong/National Museum of Play to see The Heart Gallery. If you are interested in considering adoption of an older child, if you would like to volunteer or if you would like to support CAP with a financial contribution, for more information please visit childrenawaitingparents.org or call (585) 232-5110. We can’t do this without your help.
We thank families who open their hearts and doors to these expectant children, and we appreciate those who support adoption programs through donation of treasure, talent and time.