Are you aware that the month of November is National Adoption Month? This is such a great cause to support for so many children are in need of a good home. Do you know that statics informs us that there are 415,000 children in the U.S. foster care system and 108,000 are waiting to be adopted? The theme for National Adoption Month is, “We Never Outgrow the Need for Family.” That’s because older children and youth still have many big milestones in their life they need a family for.
Since the project launched in 2002, more than 25,000 children who were once photo listed on adoptuskids.org have been adopted and nearly 38,000 families have registered to adopt through the website. Nevertheless, older youth are disproportionately represented – approximately 41 percent of children and youth photo listed on adoptuskids.org are between 15 and 18 years old, but only 17 percent of those adopted have been in this age group.
It appears that older youth and teens have lower adoption rates than younger children, and they often wait longer to be adopted. But no matter their age, all kids need a supportive, loving home and the teenage years are a critical period for growth. The new TV PSAs, which were created for the campaign probono, portray a dad giving advice to his teenage daughter after her first breakup, and a mom giving her son a haircut at home. The humorous, lighthearted scenarios aim to overcome fears adoptive parents may have regarding their own imperfections. The PSAs end with the tagline, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent,” reassuring prospective parents that even if they are not ‘perfect’, they have the ability to provide the stability and security that older youth in foster care need and deserve.
This is why I’m reaching out on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids, and the Ad Council to ask for your help in spreading the word about a new PSA campaign that encourages prospective parents to adopt older youth from foster care.
Many may ask “Why Older Youth” for adoption? Well, older youth in foster care are waiting to be adopted. They want and need families throughout life to support them and to share important life events. You know things like learning to drive a car, applying for higher education,birthdays and holiday celebrations are just a few examples of the times in life we need and want to share with family.
On adoptuskids.org, roughly 41 percent of the children and youth actively photolisted are between the ages of 15 and 18 years old. About 58 percent are male. (Most recent stats as of May 31, 2015) . Families who adopt older youth, are providing them with the support and stability of a family during a critical period of normal adolescent concerns and additional self-identity issues.
There is so much to adopting a youth that many people are not aware of and that’s why it is important to bring awareness to everyone.
There’s also many misperceptions about Adoption from Foster Care like:
Adoption is expensive. Unlike the private adoption of an infant or adopting internationally, there are virtually no costs associated with adoption from the US 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. Many children have been very successfully adopted by single parents. Single-parent families accounted for 29 percent 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 are stable, flexible, and compassionate, and that you have a good sense of humor. Most importantly, you must have the support and commitment to raise a child and to be there for him throughout his life.
- You have to own a home and each child has to have their own room. You can rent your home or live in an apartment or a mobile home so long as your living situation is a stable one.
- You have to be of child-bearing age to adopt. Experienced parents and empty-nesters are encouraged to adopt. In most instances, you’re eligible to adopt regardless of age, income, marital status or sexual orientation.