2016-national-adoption-monthIn Kentucky, there are nearly 1,800 children with a goal of adoption as part of the plans created for them by adults making very tough decisions. Being without a family should not be part of any child’s plan. It is, however, the unfortunate reality for many children in the Commonwealth and across the United States.

As we start off the month of November, a month where many make plans for family gatherings to celebrate Thanksgiving, go on shopping outings to purchase gifts for loved ones, and take long car rides to spend time with extended family, we should also recognize the children and youth who are missing out on a family, due to no fault of their own. Children often waiting to be adopted are in foster care due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Though most children placed in foster or kinship care return home, there are some children and youth who are unable to return safely to their birth parents. For these children, other plans must be put in place, including adoption.

Adoption is typically approached in two different ways; adopting through an independent or private agency and adopting through foster care. Families who adopt from foster care usually adopt from a county, state, territory, or tribal public child welfare agency. Adopting a child from foster care is often funded by the state, and in most cases there are few or no fees. Adopting from foster care will come with additional supports such as training around parenting a child who has experienced trauma.

Children and youth waiting to be adopted from foster care run the risk of leaving the care of the state without lifelong, supportive relationships. Although older youth are at risk of aging out of foster care, they will not outgrow the need for family. Children awaiting adoption in Kentucky represent all races and many ethnic groups and 51 percent are over age 12.

Older youth who are adopted from foster care are more likely to finish high school, go to college, and be more emotionally secure than their peers who remain in or age out of foster care without a permanent family. Yet many people question older youth’s need to have permanent, loving families. All children need the support and love that families can provide, and not just until the age of 18.

If you have ever considered adoption through foster care, find out more here.

To learn more about foster care and adoption in Kentucky, visit the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ website dedicated to ensuring all kids have a loving home.

Learn more about National Adoption Month here.