Adelaide was just 4 years old when she entered foster care as a result of neglect and abuse. After two placements and three years on foster care, Adelaide found herself in the home of Pamela Clifton. It was then that, like so many “aha moments” that can transform a life, everything just clicked. In 2010 Pamela married Tony Rolen with every intention of extending their family to include Adelaide. In April of this year, the Rolens officially adopted her.
At 8 years old, Adelaide had waited 4 years – half of her life - to find a place she could permanently call home. It wasn’t easy. In addition to the typical challenges associated with growing up, the child faced many significant obstacles on the long, difficult and often heartbreaking road to permanency. While Adelaide eventually found an adoptive family, her experience is, unfortunately, an all too common one. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, over 114,000 children were waiting to be adopted from foster care at the end of fiscal year 2009 . That same report showed that more than 2,000 of those kids lived in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Every day in this country children ranging in age from birth to 17 years wait for months, and in many cases years, to find a forever family they can call their own.
Becoming an adoptive parent isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. The adoption process itself can be tedious and time consuming, requiring extensive paperwork and lots of patience. Fortunately, organizations like Necco are working to connect kids in foster care with loving adoptive families.
Necco has been around for over 14 years and understands that finding adoptive homes for kids in foster care isn’t an easy task. To address specific needs and desires, Necco works with families that are interested in either foster care, adoption, or both. For example, some families prefer to help as many children as possible by fostering only. They remain part of the child’s support system and continue to be a resource whether the goal is reunification with the biological family, or transitioning to a potential adoptive home. Other families become foster parents with the intention of adopting. Like the Rolens, these foster-to adopt homes provide transition support for children in foster care. Like Adelaide, these kids live each day in foster care hoping to find an adoptive home when reunification with the biological family is no longer an option.
Necco connects foster kids with adoptive families by building positive relationships during the foster-to-adopt process. When kids enter therapeutic foster care, they are carefully matched with waiting foster homes during a thoughtful process that takes into account the child’s individual therapeutic needs, and the resources that the family has to meet those needs. By carefully pairing kids with families, the groundwork for a potential adoption is established early on. While not all children in foster care are adopted by the same parents that foster them, the matching process and subsequent case planning allow workers to get to know the child, and can help facilitate finding the right family. For individuals seeking to adopt who are not foster parents, Necco also provides independent adoption home study services. Necco is able to prepare a thorough and professional home study dossier that adoptive parents can present to an adoption agency or adoption attorney.
If you’ve considered fostering or adopting, or would like to know more about the home study process please contact the Necco location nearest you. Visit us online at www.necco.org/services/adoption.