Orange County families growing in love and number this week
Published 12:30 am Thursday, November 3, 2022
One of the happiest days for some children in the foster care system is National Adoption Day, which this year is Nov. 19, 2022.
For some Orange County families, one of the happiest days is this Friday.
“It’s a great day for us,” says Shari Pulliam, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). “Finding the right adoptive parent is crucial for these kids and our agency.”
Pulliam says three children will officially be adopted on Friday, but there are many more seeking a loving home.
“We do adoptions all of the time,” Pulliam says, “not just this particular day or month.”
And the need is great, not only in the U.S. and the state, but within the county.
“On any given day there are about 4,000 waiting in the foster care system just in Texas,” Pulliam says.
More than 5,000 abused or neglected Texas children were adopted from state care last year, and every day more children enter foster care in Texas. Some will not be able to go home again and will need adoptive families to start new lives that are free from abuse and neglect.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re 2 or 22, children want and need a family of their own,” Pulliam says.
The Texas DFPS launched a public awareness campaign called “Why Not Me?” to recruit adoptive parents.
“A lot of people do not think we do adoptions. They see children removed from the home but don’t think any further than that,” Pulliam says.
It’s one of many myths Pulliam hopes to debunk.
“People think it is really expensive to adopt. They think it costs thousands and thousands of dollars, but that is a big myth,” Pulliam says.
You also do not have to be married and live the proverbial “white picket fence” life.
“We’re looking for real people with big hearts and open arms, who want to be a mentor, friend and leader for these kids,” Pulliam says. “If you’re a single parent, divorced-male or female, we don’t discriminate.”
Special activities and events like these are going on throughout November across the state to help highlight the need for adoptive parents. The state continues its search for adoptive parents willing to open their hearts and homes for children of all ages — from newborn babies to teenagers.
“When older kids are adopted, they’re super excited,” Pulliam says. “They understand where they came from and why this process is having to happen. They’re just excited to have a family of their own.”
Some of the children in need of a permanent home have special medical, physical or emotional needs, however, their biggest need is that of a loving, forever home. Texas DFPS is asking “Why not you? Why not adopt?”
“If you’re interested in fostering or adopting now is the time to step up,” Pulliam says. “The smiles, and tears on the children’s and families faces makes it all worthwhile for what we do every day.”
If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, you can find out more at adoptchildren.org.
— Written by Chrissie Mouton