In our country, there is somewhere around 410,000 children in foster care on any given day. Roughly 110,000 of these children are available for adoption.
The average age of a waiting child is 8-years-old.
Each year, over 20,000-30,000 youth “age out” of foster care.
This means 20,000-30,000 new 18-year-olds are released from the system every year.
Of the “aged out” group:
50% will drop out of high school
62% will be unemployed within 12-18 months
25% will be homeless within two years
48% of females will have a child within 12-18 months
30% will be arrested between the ages of 18 (when they age out) and 21
63% of Americans hold a favorable view of adoption
78% of Americans think more should be done to encourage adoptions
(Dave Thomas Foundation Stats)
Something is WRONG.
The truth is government systems are not, and never have been, good at raising children. Governments are not designed to be parents. Children are organically made to be a part of some sort of family unit. We rant about the over–spending, the under–funding, the educational system, social security…I hear more negatives about government than positives. And yet, we allow them to raise children. And not just any children, these are hurt children. I could argue we are allowing governments to raise the MOST vulnerable members of our society. Damaged children, hidden behind a closed family judicial system, with little to no voice.
FEAR is not an excuse.
Fear is not an acceptable reason to actively ignore any crisis situation. As a person who struggles daily with fear, I can make this statement without judgement or malice. Sometimes being afraid gets the better of me, but I refuse to allow fear to hold me in the bondage of inaction. And doing anything foster–care–related can be intimidating...there are so many “what ifs…”
What if they don’t behave?
What if they hate me?
What if I can’t handle it?
What if they have to leave, and I am devastated?
What if, What if, What if…
For me, fear is just a self-preservation response to any of the buh-jillion what-if questions I ask myself every second all day long. So, every day, I have to decide that it is not okay, fair, or acceptable for me to tell children that need assistance that my want of being emotionally comfortable is more important than their needs.
If we, as a body of believers accept the Bible as Truth and the Bible says:
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:1)
then we can’t say the Bible is unclear about matters concerning orphans. I am happy to say that I have heard of many churches beginning to branch out into caring for this population of children. However, it is far from widespread.
(And that is what my husband would call a “good problem.”)
I am not saying everyone is called to adopt. Because I know that is not true. And if you are in that group of people I will tell you this: there are about ten dozen other ways to help orphans (and widows for that matter.)
What I am saying is there are thousands of families that could adopt, have thought about adoption, feel called to adopt, and have not. So we have children being raised in temporary homes and “age-ing out” and living a life without what most people take for granted…a family.
A family means (according to my kids):
TC (13): “Someone who likes you.”
Celee (12): “When someone keeps you even when you are mean.”
Judsen (10): “Having grown-ups tell you what to do.”
Joseph (10): “It means getting SNACKS, like popcorn.” (fist pump here)
Mia (8): “Family means people who hug you.”
Corban (6): “It is a bunch of people that are a bunch of different colors that get to play together.”
110,000 little souls are without a family in the United States.
It is overwhelming.
It is catastrophic.
It is outrageous.
It is staggering.
It is horrific.
It is WRONG.
Luckily, with all of us…
It is also fixable.