On any given day, there are over 430 thousand children in the United States living in foster care. The average child remains in state care for two years, while six percent of children remain living in the system for five years or more .
While many of these children live with foster families, ten percent of them live in group homes or institutions, and in 2018 more than 71 thousand children were waiting to be adopted .
One little boy in Oklahoma has spent over half his life in foster care, and wants nothing more than a family and a place to call home.
Jordan’s Adoption Story
Jordan is a nine-year-old boy living in Oklahoma City. Six years ago he and his younger brother Braison were put into foster care, and although they lived in separate group homes, they still loved spending time together, doing activities like baking and karate.
The siblings were featured in a news segment together three years ago, and since then Braison has been adopted. Jordan doesn’t get to see his little brother very much anymore, but wants nothing more than to find a family of his own.
Recently, the young boy was interviewed yet again. He showed the reporter some tricks on his rollerblades and talked about how he wanted to be a police officer when he grew up, but when he was asked where in the world he would want to go if he could choose, he said one place: an adoption party for a home.
He was then asked if he could be granted three wishes, what would he wish for? His answer was even simpler.
“To have a family, and family, family. Those are the only wishes I have,” he said .
The reason he wants to have a family so badly is also quite simple: he just wants to have someone to talk to anytime he needs it, whether that be a mom, a dad, or both- he’s not picky.
“I hope one of y’all pick me,” he said to the camera .
An Overwhelming Response
Just twelve hours after Jordan’s segment aired, the agency looking after him received over five thousand web inquiries about him. There has been so much interest that officials are having a hard time getting back to everyone who has expressed interest in adopting the boy.
Christopher Marlowe, Jordan’s permanency planning worker, says that he is currently in the process of reading through profiles so he can choose a family to move forward with.
“We’ve had a couple of families that expressed interest in adoption but after we did disclosures, the families decided that it wasn’t the right fit for them or their family at this time, so we’ve had some difficulty finding placement for him,” he said.
According to Marlowe, even for a child who’s been through custody, Jordan’s been through a lot compared to most of the other kids they work with, and he’s hoping to reconnect the boy with his younger brother.
“His brother’s adoptive family has been agreeable to that and even if things go well, they said they would be willing to take them out on day passes so they could spend some good quality time together,” he said .
Marlowe is very excited about the amount of attention Jordan is receiving, and is hopeful that this will be the breakthrough they needed to find him a forever home.
Adopt a Kid, Save a Life
Children who live in foster care have often been abused, neglected, or abandoned, and are in temporary custody of the state while their birth parents are given the opportunity to complete services that will allow the child to be returned to them, provided that is in the child’s best interest.
Almost half of these children, however, cannot be returned to their birth parents and therefore require adoption .
Adopting a child from the foster care system is different from other types of adoption in a few key ways:
- Though it is possible to adopt a baby from foster care, the children who are available for adoption generally range from toddler to 21, with the median age at eight years old.
- Because all children in foster care have experienced some form of trauma, parents who adopt from foster care undergo specific training to understand the effects of trauma and help children heal.
- Parents who adopt from foster care usually work with a public agency or a private agency that has contracted with the state to provide services.
- Adopting from foster care costs little to no money .
Many states encourage parents to try fostering children before making the decision to adopt, as it will allow them to begin parenting sooner, gives them a chance to get to know the child and figure out whether it will be a good permanent fit, and gives them the opportunity to gain experience parenting, among other benefits.
To begin fostering, you should first educate yourself to give you a solid understanding of the process and the children. Adoptuskids.org provides several resources for prospective families. To get started, you need to contact your local agency, who will require you to attend an orientation meeting where you will learn about the children in foster care and the process involved in becoming a foster or adoptive parent .
Fostering or adopting a child can be a long, tedious process, but the rewards are immeasurable. If you are looking to expand your family and want to help a child in need, consider adoption- you just might be saving a kid’s life.