There has always been a desperate need for foster parents. Often times people’s fears hold them back from fostering, especially with the outcomes being uncertain. However, a recently released report from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is ushering hope for the future. It shows that out of the Americans wanting to adopt, 80% would consider adopting a child out of foster care. That rate has been steadily increasing over the past 5 years.
Rita Soronen, chief executive for the Foundation, explains that in years past it has seemed parents were more interested in adopting newborns or toddlers, and with the average age of a child in foster care being around 8 or 9, potential adoptive parents were looking to private or international adoption as a way to add to their families. This is a pattern that is gradually changing.
Lorie and Dwain Hargis first became foster parents in 2013. They are raising two biological kids and five children they adopted from foster care. They have also had ten children through short-term foster care. Lorie says, “Every kid is adoptable and every kid is ‘fixable.’” The couple explains that fostering is needed to promote morals and values. It allows them to teach positive communication and patience. Speaking of their home, she says, “It’ll be full when God says it’s full. Other than that, bring ‘em on.”
Kristen Howerton, blogger of Rage Against the Minivan lives in Orange County, California with her family. Her son, Jafta, is 12 years old. She received him as a foster placement when he was 6 months old. “It was hard to be so invested and yet not be able to control any outcomes,” she said.
Long-time adoption therapist Krista Woods shares that realistic parental attitude is key in a successful foster adoption. She says, “Meeting children where they are, while supporting and encouraging them to reach for more, is a lifelong process.”
According to the numbers released in 2015, there are about 450,000 children in foster care yearly in this country. Approximately 20,000 of them will “age out” without having been adopted.