Monday, January 30, 2023

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Ample Options Await Adoptive Parents in Texas

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Friday, November 11, 2022   

Adopting a child is a big, important decision, but there also are misperceptions about the complexity of the process - which might mean thousands of vulnerable Texas children never find a home.

November is National Adoption Month, and the good news is that 37% of Americans have considered adopting - up 12% from five years ago.

Carina Noldan, a child-focused adoption recruiter in Texas who works with a local adoption agency that partners with Wendy's Wonderful Kids, said she believes every child deserves a family.

"The rate of children in foster care is just crazy in the United States," she said, "and in Texas? Well, everything's bigger in Texas - so there's a ton of children waiting to be adopted."

As part of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Wendy's Wonderful Kids is celebrating nearly 13,000 adoptions. It's estimated that every day, nearly 1,000 children are waiting to be adopted in Central Texas alone.

Since 2007, the Dave Thomas Foundation has commissioned a Harris Poll every five years to determine Americans' current level of awareness and knowledge, as well as attitudes about adoption and foster care. Its president and chief executive, Rita Soronen, said that in this year's survey, 51% of Americans said they assume children are in foster care because they're a juvenile delinquent or have "done something wrong." She said some have been abused, neglected or abandoned, but they're not "bad" kids.

"Do they have perhaps some acting-out behaviors because of the trauma they've experienced, or frankly simply because they're teens? Of course," she said. "But they're not there because they've done something wrong. They're not dangerous, they're not 'too old,' they're not 'too damaged.'"

Noldan also has personal experience with adoption. A young man she met through her work "aged out" of foster care at 18 and ended up homeless when he couldn't reunite with family. That's when Noldan, her husband and their 8- and 4-year old children decided that he belongs in their family.

"He's so afraid of being a burden that he's afraid to do anything," she said, "and then we have small breakthrough moments that he's like, 'Oh, OK, I'm safe. I can do this.' And so, we're helping him along those lines."

Disclosure: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, LGBTQIA Issues, Philanthropy, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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