YOU'VE seen their faces. They attend local schools. They go to church. They read, they sing and they play games. Do you know that what they want most is a family?
These aren't the faces many think of when it comes to adoption. They don't arrive at foster homes or other temporary residences needing bottles and diapers. They're too old for that.
As the Oklahoma Department of Human Services continues its reform efforts, one area of focus is placing a higher percentage of older children in permanent homes. The agency's plan includes using private providers to help find adoptive families for older children.
Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services recently joined with DHS to promote the adoption of older children. The move to include private providers to help focus on older youth could prove life-changing for many vulnerable Oklahoma children.
Here are a few of their stories, drawn from AdoptUSKids.org, which works with a variety of agencies to promote adoption:
Amy, a high school freshman: If it's the early bird that catches the worm, Amy will go without. Sleeping late is something she relishes. Active, funny and loyal, Amy is also sweet, kindhearted and affectionate. This is apparent in her sincere desire to help others. She can be found listening and dancing to music; currently, Radio Disney is her favorite station.
Andrew, an eighth-grader: He's a happy guy who's active, friendly, outgoing, self-confident, kind and compassionate. Curious about his surroundings, he prefers a structured routine. Andrew is fond of music, especially hip-hop. He plays football and basketball. He likes his action figures. Church and school activities are fun for him and he loved being the emcee for the Christmas program.
Christian, a high school sophomore: Here's a young man who has a zest for life and wants a family he can share this with. He's a bright, quiet, fun-loving and active athlete and a typical teenager who enjoys listening to music, going out to eat and watching movies. Christian spends his quiet time talking on the telephone, going to the park and exploring all the library has to offer. He would like to become a chef. Christian does well in school and strives to get good grades.
We've seen time and again the ability of public-private partnerships to help those in need. We applaud DHS and all of those involved in the continuing work to reform the state's child welfare system for this particular effort to improve outcomes for older children. Most of all, we encourage Oklahomans with a heart for adoption to consider an older child.
Children are never too old to be loved.
Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services can be reached at (405) 949-4200.