Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Success Story - Lucas

Today we celebrate the adoption of Lucas, a teen whose dream came true when his foster parents, Nancy and David, adopted him this year!

Lucas was featured on Wednesday’s Child Philadelphia in 2008 and then again a year later. Wednesday’s Child Philadelphia, sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, is a weekly child feature on NBC10 with former Philadelphia Eagle, Vai Sikahema.

Starting the journey to be only foster parents, Nancy and David welcomed Lucas into their home when Lucas was seven years old. They prayed he would find a home and agreed to have him until that goal became a reality. Seven years later, Lucas still had no permanent home.

In 2011, Nancy and David realized that their home was Lucas’ home and made it official in court! Lucas says he is still getting used to calling them mom and dad and corrects himself when he calls them by their names.

Vai met up with Lucas’ family to hear more about their great story. Lucas says he is so happy they adopted him. Nancy and David say they have been blessed to be the lucky couple to have Lucas permanently in their lives. Diagnosed with mild mental retardation, Lucas is for the first time in a regular education class. He is doing well and has many friends.

When Vai asked what their favorite family activity was, they all said simply playing cards and spending time together. So they pulled out a pack of Skip-Bo cards and Vai quickly saw why they liked that activity. The four shared laughs and stories and had a great time.

The Wednesday’s Child program, sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, is a great recruitment tool. In fact, over 62% of the children featured on Wednesday Child Philadelphia now have a permanent home.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Changing the Foster Care Adoption Process

The September issue of Children and Youth Services Review provides a qualitative study of nine families going through the foster care adoption process; three of them have already dropped out. Researchers noted the factors that support completion: a caring, competent social worker; supportive family and friends; involvement in counselling or parent-support activities. They also identified hindering factors including poor worker performance; the time-consuming and daunting nature of the process; and matching parameters that were too rigid. They also found that families needed to hear from workers often during the long waiting process.

The research recommends rethinking the manner in which agencies match children by having prospective parents check criteria they would accept or not accept and presenting only children who exactly match those criteria. Do you believe these suggestions will help expedite the process?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Importance of Recruitment

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption released a new report outlining their 5-year rigorous, evidence-based evaluation and research, about their Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program (a child-focused recruitment model). DTFA's signature program, Wendy's Wonderful Kids (WWK), provides local adoption agencies (including us at the National Adoption Center) with grants to hire dedicated adoption recruiters who spend 100 percent of their job focused on finding waiting children forever homes. 

The report highlights that children in foster care who are served by the WWK recruitment program are 1.7 times more likely to be adopted than those not served by WWK. The research also highlights the impact of the WWK model is greatest among children who are older or those who have mental health disorders; a population of youth that have traditionally waited the longest for adoption or that are least likely to achieve adoption. The research, which was conducted by Child Trends, documents much-needed information about practices and policies that improve the likelihood of adoption for children in foster care.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gay Adoptions Are On The Rise

this post contributed by our intern, Malini Ragoopath

According to recent reports by the US Census Bureau and the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, the number of lesbians and gay men adopting children has tripled over the past decade and continues to be on the rise. There were 6,477 same sex couples who had an adopted child in 2000; that number grew to an astonishing 21,740 by 2009.

The National Adoption Center (NAC) is thrilled to hear of this development and can attest to rising interest in adoption by the LGBT community. During our most recent adoption match party in New Jersey, 50% of the families who attended were same-sex couples. Growing public acceptance of LGBT family life, coupled with more favorable legislation, as well the presence of more LGBT friendly adoption agencies all help to play a part in the growing interest of adoption by gay men and lesbians.

In addition to match parties, NAC offers resources and services for the LGBT community. This includes our LGBT Adoption Caf├ęs where we present the basics of adoption, provide representatives from LGBT friendly adoption agencies, as well as feature a lively panel discussion with real adoption professionals and adoptive LGBT parents. We also have our online service, AdoptMatch, where adoption agencies profile themselves and potential adopters match themselves with agencies that are the “best fit” for them.

We are encouraged by the increased rate of LGBT adoptions and stand ready to be a resource for prospective families no matter what their sexual orientation.

To see the full report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, click the link below:

http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/publications/2011_10_Expanding_Resources_BestPractices.pdf