November is Adoption Awareness Month
Emily and Sam knew they wanted a sibling for their son, Jacob, now 11, but they didn’t want another baby.
Emily was aware of the great need for adoptive parents for children in foster care. She worked for an after-school program, and one of her students was in care.
“It made sense that we could take a child that needs a home and loving family,” she said. “We also had experience with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and anxiety and had a basic knowledge of trauma.”
So Sam and Emily began perusing the Adopt Kansas Kids photo-listing website, reading about the children and dreaming about which one might one day call them Mom and Dad.
Every day, hundreds of children in Kansas foster care are waiting for their “no matter what” families.
- Currently, 475 children in foster care are on the Adopt Kansas Kids website, waiting for a “no matter what” family, including 176 girls and 299 boys
- Of those children, 178 are part of a sibling group
- The average age of waiting children on the Adoption Exchange is 12
- 988 children in foster care in Kansas were adopted from June 2019 through July 2020, 455 by relatives, 531 by foster parents and 22 by others
- 6,806 children were in out-of-home placement as of September 2020; of those, 2,268 had a case plan goal of adoption
Sam and Emily fell in love with Nevaeh, now 9, who had been in foster care for 3,051 days before her adoption was finalized on Sept. 29, 2020.
As they celebrate National Adoption Month this November, Emily and Sam reflected back on the road to that happy day, saying it was an emotion-packed journey – and one they couldn’t have traveled without assistance.
That journey included a 10-week TIPS-MAPP course, required of every person who wishes to become a foster or adoptive parent, then more specialized training in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). (TBRI is a holistic, attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention designed to meet the complex needs of children who have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma.
“This was truly a life-saving experience for us,” Emily said. “It changed how we looked at parenting and made us a stronger support system for the kids.”
In fact, she thinks TBRI training should be required of all potential adoptive families.
“All of these children have trauma,” she said. “It is possible to help them and fill the cracks in their foundations as long as you have the right tools. TBRI helped us to be better parents.”
They also were able to connect with other foster and adoptive parents through training workshops and support groups offered by the Kansas Post-Adoption Resource Center, a partner organization to Adopt Kansas Kids.
“We have made so many friends and supports through classes, events, and mutual friends that truly understand our struggles,” Emily said. “We are not an island. They celebrate with you when other parents may not understand.”
Emily said it has been rewarding to watch Nevaeh “grow and evolve into a kind, smart and resilient human being.”
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