Saturday, November, 19 is National Adoption Day. It’s a day that shines a light on adoption, celebrates the children and teens who now have a permanent family, and raises awareness for the children in state foster care across the U.S. still waiting for a family.
On this day, WACAP — joined by hundreds of friends and supporters at our Ruby Gala and Auction — will be celebrating 40 years of helping children in state foster care find the stability, love and permanency of family.
Below, a member of WACAP’s US Kids staff, offers his thoughts about National Adoption Month, and what we need to remember on this day.
National Adoption Month is instrumental in bringing to our hearts and our minds the needs of children looking for a family. This year’s particular focus on adolescents helps remind us as well that you never outgrow the need for support. While this is most assuredly a heartening message to see go out, the fact remains that such an ephemeral spotlight cannot ably highlight the needs of these teens. They need stability every day, and a family for life.
As WACAP’s foster care licensor, I support families adopting a child from state foster care, helping them through the process of becoming foster care licensed in their home state. I have the dual role of assisting foster/adoptive parents not only to attain, but also adapt their licenses as they grow to see their abilities match the needs of a greater demographic of waiting children and adolescents. Families frequently find that once they get past the paperwork, the process is not nearly as frightening as they might once have thought, and these same families come to feel they may be open to a child older than they may once have considered. I love seeing families expand their horizons, and—working with our case managers—I am happy to adjust the licenses to grow alongside the families.
I receive numerous daily announcements of teens needing placements and looking for families of their own. Monthly consortiums with state social workers and staffing meetings also highlight teens hoping to become part of a stable home. While there are dozens of families in our program, only a scant handful are open to teens, and the number tapers off as the age goes up. However, families who may never have considered older children often find themselves drawn to a profile for one reason or another, and learn that while a teen or adolescent may not have been what they were expecting, the capacity for love is every bit as great.
A final point we can remember today is that a child’s simply being on the verge of adulthood does not mean that child is ready to leave the foster/adopt system. Children of all ages need support and security to help them thrive, and many people may not realize that even legal adults can and do get adopted! Adolescent and adult adoptees may have a more extensive backstory before you came into their lives, but it does not make them any less a part of the family. Nor any less in need of one.
About WACAP’s US Kids’ Foster Care Licensor, Logan Bussey: Logan joined WACAP in the spring of 2016, a “proud US Kids program licensor since Star Wars Day (May 4th) 2016,” he notes. Before joining WACAP’s staff, Logan earned his M.A. in psychology and spent two years in the social work sector. Working with families to become foster care licensed in their state, Logan is looking forward to the impact he can make in his role – and how he can help the children and teens in state care find the permanency they need.