By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
The baby left on a doorstep in Corsicana early this week has attracted attention from willing parents as far away as New York and Pennsylvania, but Texas has thousands of kids waiting in the foster care system that are ready to be adopted out now.
In North Texas, there are 1,034 kids waiting to be adopted, and 23 of those are in Navarro County, according to Marissa Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
“There are plenty of kiddoes who need homes and who have been waiting for homes and who are already legally free for adoption,” Gonzalez said. “They can be from newborn up to 18. Once a kid hits about 10 or 11 years old it becomes very difficult to find adoptive homes for them.”
Jenny Bratton, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center of Navarro County, has seen dozens of great kids come through the system, but who often get overlooked because of their age.
“These are awesome kids, really, really neat kids who have so much love to share, and who so much want a family,” Bratton said.
“The primary obstacle is that the number of infants who are available as newborns is small,” she said. “The majority of folks are interested in that brand new baby. Most of our kids have to go through a judicial process where their parents are given an opportunity to follow through on court-required services, and they have a year to do that. Even if we were to take a child from the hospital the child would still be a year old when the case concluded and they’d be available for adoption.
“Of course, the majority are not taken from the hospital, they’re taken away when they are 2,3, 4, 5, 13 or 14, and so they have a history by the time that they become available for adoption through our system,” she explained. “Child Protective Services does a marvelous job of educating potential parents of a child’s history, but it requires a more open mind than the little guy who’s drawing so much attention.”
This year, Navarro County has seen 18 adoptions, a lot of which are family members stepping in to pick up the pieces of a child’s life.
“We have some adoptive parents who do so much to make these children’s lives better,” Bratton said. “And we have wonderful kids who are wanting to be adopted.
Anyone who passes the background check and takes the training can adopt in Texas. There’s also support out there for a family willing to offer a home.
“There’s a perception out there that adopting is very expensive, but if you’re adopting through the state it’s not expensive,” Gonzalez said. “And there’s tax benefits and stipends available to offset the cost of bringing a new child into your home. Anyone who’s over 21 years of age and is interested in becoming an adoptive parent can adopt. It can be a nuclear family, it can be single parents. It doesn’t matter who you are if you’re interested in adopting a child and can complete all the requirements and have the desire in your heart to give a child a safe home, then you can be considered.”
November is National Adoption Month. Information about adopting is available on the website adoptchildren.org, which also shows photos and bios of the children in Texas who are available for adoption, as well as how to start the process.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com