Families, Boys Town discuss the importance of fostering and adopting
Recognizing National Adoption Month can bring awareness to the needs of children in foster care
(KSNB) - November is recognized as National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day is Saturday, Nov. 21. It’s an important time to bring awareness to the importance of fostering children.
Fostering, which can turn into adoption, as it did in the McPhersons case, is what agencies such as Boys Town rely on to connect the children in the foster care system back with their biological parents or to a good, safe home.
Cedric and Gena McPherson live in Ravenna and currently have two adopted children, full siblings and have fostered six children in their time together. Each situation as rewarding and special as the one prior, the couple is now a strong advocate for both becoming foster parents and adoption.
“It’s not easy, it’s going to be hard but think about how hard it is for that child, too,” Cedric said. “You’re an adult. You can probably handle it better than that child can and that child really needs it.”
The McPhersons have worked with Boys Town in the whole process. The job of the staff at Boys Town is to recruit, license and train families interested in becoming foster parents as well as facilitate a pairing and ensure the situation a child being put into is the best situation for all.
Agencies such as Boys Town are constantly pointing out the need for foster families that are willing to adopt a line of siblings, rather than one or two, and older siblings as it can be much harder to find placement for children who have been in the system or bounced from foster family to foster family.
“Really that level of difficulty is why we need good, reliable adults to not only give them a place to sleep but give them the love that they need,” Megan Andrews, the Senior Director at Boys Town, said.
Jarod and Katie Owens live in Edgar and have an adopted daughter at home who they knew they were going to adopt before she had even been born. The Owens have an open adoption, meaning they have a relationship with the biological mother of their daughter, and chose to go without an agency through the process.
“The biggest is just knowing how extremely lucky we were,” Jarod said. “I don’t think ours is kind of a typical story, you know going through this we’ve met so many more people who are wanting to adopt.”
The Owens, similar to the McPhersons, are now strong advocates of foster care and adoption, knowing they would not be in the situation they’re in without it.
The McPhersons and Owens both sang a similar tune, stating that it can sometimes be difficult but that the pros, benefits and special moments drastically outweigh any cons or hardships that may come along with fostering and adopting.
Gena urges people who are interested in fostering to have patience and be aware of all the training and education that comes along with fostering kids, as well as understanding that foster parents may never know what a child has gone through so patience becomes even more crucial.
“Obviously they have certain behaviors or certain issues because of what they’ve been through,” Gena said. “But on the other side they’ve all been the most amazing kids. They’ve all brought so many beautiful things to the table that we’ve been excited to have be a part of our lives.”
Boys Town urges anyone who may be interested in fostering to simply reach out, ask questions and hear about the process. If someone wants to help but isn’t keen on fostering, Krysten Vance, a recruiter, licenser and trainer with Boys Town, advises people to simply be a support system for anyone they may know who is fostering. Offer to watch the kids, cook a meal, etc. Boys Town also has the Foster Care Closet people can make donations to and will be putting trees in Kearney’s Hilltop Mall and Grand Island’s Conestoga Mall which will allow people to read tag on the trees with gift requests from children in foster care and purchase a gift to place under the tree.
More information on fostering and Boys Town can be found here. You can also call the Grand Island office at (308) 391-4444.
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