November spotlights successful adoptions, Indiana kids still waiting
Thursday, November 2, 2023
November is National Adoption Month, a time to boost awareness of the need for adoption and the number of children in foster care seeking permanent homes.
Throughout the month, Indiana courts will hold hearings on pre-scheduled days to legalize adoptions for families who have successfully completed the requirements.
Michelle Savieo, Indiana Adoption Program manager for the Department of Child Services, said the courts have celebrations, and bring in providers who can offer resources to these families.
"Our program offers gift bags for the courts to share with families, that include resources and fun items related to adoption," Savieo explained. "The purpose is to let them know that we celebrate their adoption, we celebrate their family, but also that they will have ongoing support, throughout their lives and throughout the adoption."
Savieo said 1,300 Indiana children have been placed in permanent homes so far this year. She pointed out families who want to adopt can begin the process on a state website to submit an inquiry. According to the state, the average number of days a child in Marion County is in foster care is 378.
The Indiana Department of Child Service's policy states for a child to be legally adopted, the biological parents' rights have to be terminated. But social media's broad reach has sidestepped the requirement and helped some birthparents find their children. Savieo noted research has shown the importance of keeping some contact with a child's biological family, but the adoptive parents can decide if they want to encourage contact.
"Sometimes it is in the child's best interest, if it can be done safely, so that they can really work to marry their past with their present," Savieo noted. "But the law does not require contact."
In 2016, then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill granting people born between 1941 and 1993 access to their adoption records and original birth certificates. It did not take effect until 2018, giving birthparents time to sign a form to prevent releasing their identifying information.
The state's website lists the most common reasons for an adoptee to seek out their biological family as curiosity, to gain medical or family information and to learn the reasons behind the adoption.
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