Original Story: detroitnews.com
Each year, more than 23,000 children in foster care in America age out of the system without ever having the chance to know a secure home and loving family.
Historically, placing children in foster care from one state into an adoption with a family in another state has been extremely difficult, as regulations differ from state to state. This hurdle often prevents more than 102,000 adoption-ready children currently in foster care from being adopted.
In Michigan, there are 15,347 children in foster care, with more than 3,500 eagerly awaiting a forever family. For couples facing fertility issues or those simply looking to expand their family, the interstate red tape can be exhausting and often times, heartbreaking.
On the opposing side of those willing and wanting to adopt, are the vulnerable children waiting for a family. These children are dangerously close to becoming products of the system. Many have been in and out of a number of homes over the years, shuttled back and forth between agencies, and have had their hopes dashed because no one has welcomed them into a permanent family. Those left to fend for themselves at 18 years old are often alone, have no one to call in a time of need, and are at risk of adding to the homelessness, unplanned pregnancy, or crime statistics.
Thankfully, numbers seem to indicate an increase in the number of couples seeking to adopt older children. Initiatives such as Bethany Christian Services' No One Without (N.O.W.), a program, which uses a comprehensive database to match prospective adoptive families and eligible foster care children while navigating interstate regulations, are making a difference by alleviating hassle and opening new frontiers to help adoptees and families.
As these issues continue to gain traction, it is increasingly important that awareness is heightened and opportunities like National Adoption Month in November are utilized to give a voice to the children who do not have one. Let's work together in continuing to tear down the walls of bureaucracy and make adopting foster care children across state lines easier so that these children have greater hope of experiencing the love of a forever family.
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