Weekly Feature

2016-02-24 / Editorial

Fostering, adopting are rewarding, many are in need

Bee Editorial

Children in the foster care system face many difficult challenges. Often, they do not have the consistency which can be so important to a child’s mental well-being and development.

It is also often difficult for a child who has been through many homes to feel a sense of love, security and acceptance.

Becoming a foster parent or adoptive parent can change the course of a child’s life, and while it can be difficult, the rewards are great, and there is no shortage of children in the United States who are in need of a temporary or permanent home.

According to the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, in 2014 there were 108,000 children in the United States, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, waiting to be adopted. While this number is down from 131,000 in 2005, it has increased dramatically from two years prior when the number hit 102,000 in 2012.

In 2014, significantly less than half that number of children were adopted — a total of 50,600 — a number which was also down from 2012 when 52,000 children were adopted.

While numbers of children waiting for adoption fluctuated greatly from 2005 — from 131,000 to 108,000 over roughly 10 years, the number of children adopted barely budged. Beginning in 2005, the number of children adopted was 51,600 and in 2014, there was only a 1,000 person difference to 50,600. The highest during that time period was 57,200 in 2009.

While there are technical aspects to understanding these numbers, the overall trend is clear. There are more children in foster care and waiting to be adopted than there are families adopting children. Fostering a child is no easy task and is one which takes emotional fortitude and a sizeable amount of flexibility.

The experience can be incredibly rewarding, not only because foster parents as well as adoptive parents have the deep and heart-felt knowledge that they have given of themselves to provide a better life for children in need, but also because they have the privilege of getting to know some incredible children whom they likely otherwise would never have crossed paths with.

Those who have the space in their homes, the availability in their schedules and the sincere desire to bring a child or children in need into their home, should take the time and the emotional effort to consider becoming a foster parent or and adoptive parent.

The impact they can have is truly beyond measure.

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