Tuesday, November 26, 2013

National Celebration of Adoption

This month is national adoption month, and last Friday was national adoption day. As many of you already know, all four of my children are adopted.

My wife and I were part of a Permanency Planning program. Here’s the theory: The longer a child stays in foster care, the more frequent their moves to new homes become. And the more frequent moves are not healthy for the child. So the program seeks out foster children who are at risk for being in the system a long time.

Those children are then placed in homes that are committed to two concurrent plans with the intention of one of them being permanent. The foster parents are expected to interact with and encourage the birth-parents, and at the same time the birth-parents are given intensive training and services to get them to the level where they can care for their birth-child. This is intended to lead to a situation where the child can be returned to the birth parent. But if the child cannot be returned, one of several paths is initiated so the foster-parent can adopt the child.

Andy Worhol said we all get 15 minutes of fame. Back in 1997, I used up eight of my fifteen minutes in this NPR interview about the Permanency Planning program.

There are a several things I find appealing about this program. It provides birth-families with the help, services, and training they need to hold their families together, 
and at the same time holds the 
birth-parent accountable for their progress. This provides hope of a positive outcome for the children in either a birth-family or an adoptive-family. And it provided my wife and me a home full of pretty darn good children. My wife and I were able to adopt four children through this process. It was not easy, and we are still in the daily struggles of raising our children. Yet I can truthfully say I am glad we did it.

The program is managed by a non-profit, Lutheran Community Services, that contracts to the State to manage the case. This reduces the work-load on the state caseworker, and a stipend it paid to the non-profit to manage the child’s case. If the child’s case makes it to adoption there are pro-rata fees the adoptive families pay. But these payments are not enough to fully fund the program. For the first time in the 20 or so years I have been involved in the program they are in need of our help.

In a recent meeting, some quick math determined that they are about $50 short per month per child they are working with. If you agree with me that programs such as this are important to the child, to the families, and to the community please designate your contribution of any size to "Seattle-Everett Metro (King & Snohomish Counties), WA" and specific LCS program "Permanency Planning".

Thank you for your consideration.