We never outgrow the need for family. So imagine what it feels like to be child who is growing up without one.
Here in Philadelphia, there is a program called “Wednesday’s Child,” which is done in conjunction with the local NBC affiliate. Each week they highlight a child in the foster care system hoping to be adopted, and each week upon seeing them my heart plummets into my stomach.
There are 415,000 children in the U.S. foster care system and 108,000 who are just waiting to be adopted. No matter the age, all kids need a supportive, loving home. Older children and teens have lower adoption rates than younger children, yet the teenage years are a critical period for growth with milestones that deserve to be shared with family.
AdoptUSKids has a national photo listing service for children who are waiting to be adopted. Since the project launched, more than 25,000 children have been adopted and nearly 38,000 families have registered to adopt. Approximately 41% of children photo listed on PSA on Youtube, are between 15 and 18 years old.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. You just have to be able to provide the stability, security and love that older youth in foster care need and deserve.
Don’t let the misperceptions about adoption from foster care stop you. Instead, read through these myths to see the truths:
Adoption is expensive. Unlike the private adoption of an infant or adopting internationally, there are virtually no costs associated with adoption from the U.S. child welfare system. In addition, the vast majority of youth adopted from foster care are also eligible for monthly adoption assistance up to the level of the foster care rate.
You have to be married. You do not have to be married to adopt in most states. Single-parent families accounted for 29% of all adoptions from foster care in 2014 (AFCARS).
You have to have a college degree. Having a high school diploma or college education is not required. What is important is that you have the support and commitment to raise a child and to be there throughout his or her life.
You have to own a home and each child must have his or her own room. You can rent your home or live in an apartment so long as your living situation is a stable one.
You have to be of child-bearing age to adopt. In most instances, you are eligible to adopt regardless of age, income, marital status, or sexual orientation.
You can only adopt a child who is the same race and ethnicity as you. Federal law prohibits the delay or denial of an adoptive placement based on the race or ethnicity of a child in U.S. foster care and the prospective parent or parents who are seeking to adopt them. The only exception to this law is the adoption of Native American children where special considerations apply.
You can’t adopt if you’re in the military. Military families stationed overseas and within the U.S. are eligible to adopt children from the U.S. foster care system.
For more information about adoption, or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child from foster care, call 1-888-200-4005 (English) or 1-877-236-7831 (Spanish). You can also watch the PSA on Youtube, or visit the campaign’s communities on PSA on Youtube, and PSA on Youtube,.
Let’s work to give all kids a loving home in which to grow up.
Disclosure: This post was written on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids, and the Ad Council #NAM15 #perfectparent