By Halley Harrell
November is National Adoption Month. Ceremonies and programs across the country recognize foster families, celebrate adoptions and emphasize the importance of finding a home for children in need. Bell County recently hosted such an event to honor finalized adoptions.
Texas has around 6,500 children in the foster care system waiting to find permanent families. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, more children were adopted from foster care last year than ever before. A reported 5,328 children found their “forever families” from September 2012 – August 2013, and adoption rates are up 6.5 percent since last year. Though these foster kids were welcomed into safe and loving homes, there is still a need for more families to consider adoption.
In honor of adoption awareness, the DFPS and Child Protective Services host the “Why Not Me?” campaign throughout November. This campaign pairs with various organizations and programs across Texas to host adoption ceremonies, match parties and other events.
Bell County first recognized National Adoption Month in 2008 and holds an Adoption Day Celebration to recognize local adoptions.
This year’s celebration was held at the Bell County Justice Center on Nov. 14. Over 100 people attended the event.
Judges Charles Van Orden and Jack Jones were present to officiate the adoptions. Thirteen families were present to welcome their adopted children into their lives. Twenty-seven children left that day headed to their new forever homes.
Adoption Days are held around the nation to celebrate children who find a family through the foster care system. In Bell County, the celebration recognizes the hard work and sacrifices adoptive parents have made to permanently add a child into their home. As they reach the finish line in the adoption process, these families are invited to celebrate the day they can finally call their former foster children their own. For the kids, this means finally having a place to call home.
Before the county’s event, 91 children in the area were waiting to find their permanent families. These children were placed in the foster care system after having been removed from their biological parents for various reasons, unable to return to their former lives.
Many of these children have suffered abuse or neglect, according to the DFPS. They are in need of caring foster and adoptive parents. Matching children of all ages, some with special medical, physical or emotional needs, with a family can lead to adoption and help the children feel loved and accepted.
The DFPS aims to help children find a parent before they age out of the foster care system.
“No matter if a child is 10 or 17, the universal truth is that children never outgrow the need for parents,” Julie Moody, a media specialist for the DFPS, stated. “After they become young adults they still need the roots that only a family can provide.”
The department has a YouTube channel which features ‘Why Not Me’ videos. These short films introduce children who are waiting to find a match through AdoptChildren.org. The videos and website invite visitors to learn more about adopting children and teens and figuring out whether they might be a good fit for their families. The site also provides information on beginning the adoption process.
If you are interested in finding out more about adoption, check out the website at www.adoptchildren.org.