Two things have kept me from sharing this important information with you 1) children who live around us are in difficult (life-threatening) situations and it seems that not enough healthy (capable) families are stepping up to take care of them! 2) children in crisis live around ME and my family isn’t doing anything to help.
See, I’m talking about something that I’m not doing myself, so let’s explore this together, shall we?
A few weeks ago, I sat down with the Louchheim’s, a Scottsdale family who has fostered and then adopted two children and is fostering a third, a baby my son’s age. This family has raised two adult children and has a teenager still in their home. These are biological children. Most people would consider them “done” with the kid-thing. In fact, I rarely (yes, it certainly happens) hear about adoption as a means to grow on family apart from infertility. And, since I’m being honest, we certainly have not seriously considered it for our family. I tend to be of the “well, it’s good for YOU” bend and not the “I’ll consider this my responsibility as well”.
Sure, we can hold folks like the Louchheim’s up and say that they are exceptional people (because they are), they are different, special, can “handle more” than the average family. Maybe they can. But they would say that they are just like you. They are normal people. They work. They have a house. They eat out. Nothing crazy. Just normal.
What made them decide to be foster parents? Why did they adopt? They were transformed by a faith in Jesus Christ, is how they explain it. They lived the Scottsdale-Party life for years. The life they let was driven by alcohol. (No, it’s not now. They’ve been sober for 10 years!) When they came to accept that Jesus died on the cross so they wouldn’t be separated from God for eternity, He gave them the tools to live differently. Robbie said, “I was living for myself. Indulging in everything I wanted. Food. Alcohol. I was never satisfied. In Christ, I am able to focus on Him and get the focus off of myself.” Understanding where they came from, and their decision to live their life for others is inspiring to me.
If you were to see them now, with their children, after hearing where they came from, the only answer for the joy you’d see is that of a miracle. But what is equally amazing is to hear about the baggage that these little ones start off with! A newborn, who’s mother test positive for drugs receives a case worker, a lawyer, a guardian ad litem, a foster parent and on and on. A new baby with a ton of baggage. They haven’t chosen this situation, it has been chosen for them. And the number of children in Arizona need of a home is staggering.
Take a look at these facts:
- Currently, there are 10,500 children in the foster care system.
- There are close to 350 children statewide who wait in care with a legal plan of adoption but currently have no identified family interested in adopting them.
- In Maricopa County, approximately 80 children a week are removed by Child Protective Services from their homes.
- Emergency shelters are frequently the only place available for these children to be placed.
- There are approximately 115 foster kids living in a shelter in Maricopa County (about 30 are 12 years and under).
- 68 percent of teens age 13-17 remain in a shelter or receiving home for more than 21 consecutive days.
- On average, a child with a case plan goal of “adoption” spends 27 months in out-of-home care and averages 3 different home placements.
- Last year approximately 700 youth-aged out of foster care without a permanent family connection in their life.
One thing not mentioned here is that adopting a child through the state of AZ cost the parents nothing, adoption of foster children give parents insurance for their adoptive children until they are 18 years old. They also (in most cases) will continue to receive state subsidy until their adoptive child is 18. The subsidy is not much at all and certainly should and could not be a reason for adoption, but it doesassist the family.
Does this stir your heart? Do you want to know more? This Saturday, February 11 from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM at Scottsdale Bible Church is your chance. You’ll see me there.
At Wait No More, Finding Families for Arizona’s Waiting Kids you’ll hear more about the kids who are waiting, the process of adoption from foster care and ways to support adoptive families. In addition, agency and county representatives will be on site to answer questions and help you get started. Click here to learn more. Click here to register for the conference.
I’m going to explore what I can do. Will you join me?