Our View

Published 5:51 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2005

By Staff
Adoption month highlights need for families
The family unit has always been the cornerstone of our society. The concept is so basic that loving; caring families can be taken for granted. That's a luxury that the 260 Alabama foster children awaiting adoption do not have.
"They are anxiously awaiting families that will provide them with a forever home," said Lynn Barnes, director of the Escambia County Department of Human Resources. (DHR).
"The Adoption Awareness Month observance each November highlights the need for permanent homes for these children," Ms. Barnes said. November has been proclaimed as national Adoption Month since 1990. This is appropriate because a traditional family holiday, Thanksgiving, is celebrated in November. This provides the perfect opportunity to raise public awareness that also many children are awaiting permanent homes.
Currently, there are approximately 260 Alabama children available for adoption.
"These are children for whom no adoptive family has been found," Ms. Barnes said. "More than 50 percent are male, over 50 percent are of African American heritage, and more than 60 percent are over the age of ten, some are physically disabled; others are mentally or emotionally challenged."
In addition to focusing on children awaiting permanent homes, Ms. Barnes said Adoption Awareness Month is an opportunity to clear up some misinformation about adoption.
"One of the most common misconceptions is that prospective adoptive parents have to be rich or must have a certain kind of job," Ms. Barnes said, "This is not true. The applicant must be financially able to take care of a child, and they must be willing to share their home and their life with a child or children in need of a forever family."
Other misinformation exists about adoption-related expenses. According to Barnes, there is no fee charged by the Department for adoption services provided by DHR. Applicants pay for their physical examinations, criminal record checks and for the filing of court documents. In certain instances reimbursement for non-recurring expenses can be reimbursed up to a specific amount.
"As fellow citizens plan for traditional family gatherings during the holiday season, we ask that they consider growing their families through adoption," Ms. Barnes said." They should not hesitate because of the false notion that one must be 'perfect' in order to adopt a child. As a popular slogan says, 'you don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.'"

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