To the Editor:
November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about children waiting to be adopted and to thank and celebrate adoptive families. Currently, there are just over 6,000 Iowa children and youth in foster care.
Of this number, more than 750 children, right here in Iowa, are waiting to be adopted by a forever family. These children sometimes wait five years or more to be adopted, which can be a lifetime to a child. The average age of a child waiting to be adopted is 8-years-old.
More good families are needed to provide these children with loving homes. You could change the life of a child forever. Few children can reach their full potential without a sense of belonging to a permanent family.
When children are removed from their biological parents due to abuse or neglect, the goal is to either return them to a stronger and safer birth family, or find an adoptive family and permanent home. When parental rights are severed by Juvenile Court, a stable and safe forever family home can help to undo the harm that neglected or abused children have suffered.
The support and acceptance that were at times absent in a young child's life can be given freely by members of their new forever family. Adoption is a wonderful way of bringing new families together.
In partnership with Iowa KidsNet, YSS staff leads the endeavor in collaboration with LSI staff to recruit, train, license, and provide support services to more than 400 foster and adoptive families in the 27-county DHS Northern Service Area. Most of these foster and adoptive homes are full and the need for new foster and adoptive parents is urgent. You can be single, married, straight, gay, young, or old. We are seeking responsible and healthy adults with big hearts who have the passion and commitment to provide a warm, safe, and stable home environment.
If you have some extra room in your heart and home, consider becoming a foster and/or adoptive parent. The support of one caring adult can make a lifelong impact on a child's life. To help and learn more, please call Bambi Schrader at YSS at (515) 233-2250, extension 4561, or Iowa KidsNet customer service staff to receive information at (800) 243-0756, or visit www.iowakidsnet.com.
Dr. George Belitsos
CEO, Youth & Shelter Services, Inc.