Every once in a while, I read a news story that makes my heart sing. This is such a case.
Recently, a non-profit foundation and Child Protective Services in Bexar County, Texas started an agency to place children with special needs. Bexar County is home to a moderately sized city, San Antonio, and the smaller towns surrounding it. In Bexar County alone, 500 plus kids with special needs are waiting for adoptive homes.
A few years back, a special needs theme park opened in San Antonio. The theme park will be the first meeting point for approved adoptive families and the special needs kids at a “match party.” At the party, the agency hopes adoptive families will fall in love with these children and begin to imagine parenting one or more of these sweethearts.
The prospective adoptive parents will take the usual path to licensing: introduction meeting, PRIDE classes, home-studies, etc. The difference in this case will be that at the end of the training and approval period, they will then attend match parties and will be working with this group. Just in case anyone misunderstands the concept of the “match party,” they aren’t there to shop for a child. It’s more the idea that they will play and hang out with all the kids and begin to see themselves as parents; later, a placement will be identified.
I am so thrilled to see government and private sectors working together in this way. The intentional partnering will undoubtedly lead to more success than in the foundation set up the program and informed CPS. I can’t wait to see how it all works out.