Children and families around the world are celebrating November as National Adoption Month.
Those of us who work with children each day are grateful for these families, and during this special month, we recognize the need to continue finding the loving families that all children deserve.
The need is certainly there.
In Texas over the past year, nearly 4,200 children left foster care to adoptive homes. As recently as September of 2023, over 7,500 children in foster care had adoption as their primary goal for leaving foster care.
The need is especially high for older children and for those who are part of sibling groups. Meanwhile, some families have perhaps considered adoption but don’t know where to start.
Before many families adopt in Texas, they start as foster families, meaning they provide temporary care for children whom the state has removed from their birth families due to abuse or neglect. Nonprofit organizations train and prepare prospective foster families and then work with the state to place children in the foster families that will best meet the needs of those children.
The process of becoming a foster family can take three to six months, starting with an orientation session. From there, families fill out an application and participate in trauma-informed training sessions and a home study.
Foster parents can be single or coupled, including same-sex couples, and they may or may not already have children. The parent must be at least 21 years old, be in good physical health, pass a criminal background check and be able to financially provide for a child.
Those who decide to provide foster care are not alone. When working with child-placing organizations such as DePelchin, they receive trainings, counseling, in-home visits and other forms of support. The state also provides financial assistance.
Foster parents know that the care they provide may be temporary, because the goal is always to reunite children with their birth families or close family friends when possible. However, in instances in which parental rights are terminated, a foster family can choose to pursue adoption. The same organizations that place a child in a foster family often provide guidance and assistance throughout the process of adoption.
Throughout November and beyond, many families celebrate their adoption day. For all involved, it will be among the happiest days of their lives. Meanwhile, here in the Houston area and throughout Texas, other children continue to need safe and loving homes.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the foster-to-adopt process, we invite you to reach out to us at DePelchin Children’s Center or a similar nonprofit organization that places children into care. We can tell you more about the guidance and support available to families who welcome a child into their homes and lives.
Jesse Booher is Senior Vice President and COO of DePelchin Children’s Center, a nonprofit organization that serves children and families in Houston and other parts of Texas. To learn more about foster care and adoption through DePelchin, please email email@example.com.