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  • What Limited Government Looks Like: Adopting a Foster Child

    Many of us will give thanks for family this week.

    Sadly, more than one hundred thousand children awaiting adoption from the foster care system don’t have a family to be thankful for.

    More than 400,000 children are in the foster care system, and about a quarter are in circumstances that will prevent them from being reunified with their family of origin. They need adoptive homes.

    November is National Adoption Month, and this year’s initiative aims to find permanent parents for these 107,000 foster children. That’s a call advocates of limited government should take seriously.

    Without adoption, these children will reach adulthood without a family to call their own. That will put them at greater risk of economic distress, depending on welfare, having a child outside of marriage, and being convicted of a crime.

    Time is not on the side of these children. In 2003, Dr. Wade Horn, then Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, testified that after reaching age nine in foster care, a waiting child is more likely to remain in the foster care system than to be adopted.

    The foster care system urgently needs reform, as Thomas Atwood, former president of the National Council for Adoption, wrote in a Heritage Backgrounder earlier this year:

    Sadly, for many tens of thousands of children and youth, foster care is more like a trap door than a safety net, beneath which they languish for years in multiple placements without the loving parents and permanent family that all children need and deserve. Long-term foster care is the de facto case plan for many children. As a result, every year tens of thousands of youth age out of foster care without a family. The child welfare system as a whole, of which foster care is the largest and most costly piece, needs comprehensive reform. =? > 0%s?e year’s initiative aims to find permanent parents for these 107,000 foster children. That’s a call advocates of limited government should take seriously.

    But reforming policy won’t be enough. These vulnerable children need families.

    Adopting a foster child is civil society in action, a beautiful picture of conservative principles at work.

    Not everyone is in a position to foster or adopt, but we can all help those who assist foster children to find homes and support the families who take them in. This holiday season, spread the word about this good work. If you know a foster or adoptive family, thank them and ask how you can help.

    Consider a donation to Wait Nor More or Harvest of Hope (described below) on behalf of the more than 100,000 foster children waiting for adoption.  For families, what better way to help children prize the blessing of family and consider the needs of others? For adults, how about directing the gift-giving spirit of your office, church, or other groups toward these children in need?

    To learn more or to contribute directly to help foster children find homes, check out these two ministries:

    Wait No More: Launched in 2008 by Focus on the Family to alert more Americans to the urgency of the need for adoption, Wait No More hosts events that gather government leaders, churches, private adoption agencies and prospective adoptive parents to provide information and opportunities to begin the adoption process on site. To date, 7,100 have attended Wait No More events, with 1,791 families initiating adoption of foster children. In Colorado, where the group is headquartered, the number of foster children waiting for adoption dropped from about 800 to 350, thanks to the efforts of Wait No More in conjunction with other ministries and agencies.

    Harvest of Hope: Rev. Buster Soaries and his Somerset, NJ, congregation began their foster care work when they learned of a “boarder baby” crisis—newborns abandoned in hospitals—in their county and elsewhere in the state. The Harvest of Hope Program was created to find families for these infants. Since then, Harvest of Hope has recruited 385 foster families, placing a total of over 900 children in temporary foster care. Some 149 families have adopted 235 children. The ministry’s efforts have expanded, with Harvest of Hope now leading a statewide network of churches from which foster parents are recruited and supported as they take in children.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to What Limited Government Looks Like: Adopting a Foster Child

    1. Jim Cockrum says:

      The call to action is clear and I support it. My family has adopted 3 times so we get it, but I reject the premise that advocates of limited Govt. have an additional responsibility for these "lost children". That logic is flawed. How would having "bigger govt." help find homes for kids that need homes? While I'm a huge fan of "limited Govt." as defined by our founding documents, I'd argue that is it unfair to move an unequal portion of the weight of responsibility for these kids onto one political group. Even "big govt." advocates share an equal responsibility here…we don't need more govt. programs, we need open homes for these kids regardless of political leanings. Sadly, it is those of us on the "conservative" side of politics that overwhelmingly do open our homes, but that does not remove the responsibility from those with other political leanings.

      • Denise in Michigan says:

        I'd love to see the data that supports the assertion that those who are politically conservative are more likely to foster. Please point me to that data — this is very important information.

    2. Laura Green says:

      I am in favor of more Christian families stepping up and going through the foster care system rather than private adoption agencies and consider adopting children 3 and up. I am a single female who has taken on 3 foster children for 8 months now, and although it has been very tough at times, I wouldn't trade it for anything. They will be adopted by a local 2 parent family with 1 adopted child soon. I intend to try to take on an older child and possibly adopt if it works seems God's leading. I would highly recommend more families to consider it. My church encourages adoption and several have adopted, but no one has mentioned foster parenting. I am sure there are more who are just tentative and fearful of the possible problems. It is sometimes tough, but God doesn't want us to sit comfortably in life, He wants to stretch us and we are to sacrifice for others, and then the blessings come.

    3. Amanda from NC says:

      My husband and I are currently under going licensing to become foster parents in our county. For anyone interested in fostering, a great podcast can be found at fosterparenting.com A couple named Tim and Wendy relate their real life experience of fostering and adopting in informative and heart felt ways. Thanks, Heritage, for drawing attention to this important topic!

    4. Denise from Michigan says:

      I'm glad you're bringing attention to this. I'd really, really like to know who among the Heritage Foundation staff and board members are fostering kids. I think that would be a valuable model because so very few wealthy people who have all the resources needed to be excellent foster parents ever participate in the system. I've fostered off-and-on for 30 years and its a great frustration to many foster parents and to agency staff that kids are hardly ever placed in toney suburbs.

    5. Bobbie says:

      Denise, what exactly is your frustration and who exactly are you speaking for? who are you to take the time and great concern to assume wealthy people don't participate in the system? It's a freedom of choice, not a dumping by force! I assume those who choose to foster children do it out of instinctive love for people. Although some may do it because government now supplies corrupt cash for care. Not really genuine. Not the role of government.

      I'm a Heritage member who fosters one child with two of our own at no ones cost but my family's under 40,000 dollar net yearly worth. Is that wealthy? We have developed a treasure load of common sense, rationality, logic and reason because of circumstances beyond our control as we along with many more American thinkers, figure things out for ourselves while unconstitutional government control makes our ability harder and harder at their unlimited expense. We lose a state of independence when the unconstitutional government and it's costs intrude in the areas of personal duty to be personally responsible in areas we do, can do or have done for ourselves within our means. I'm wondering why you target an income, the "wealthy" to have anything to do with this? While the government notes overpopulation, what about the parents that brought the child into the world? why did they do it knowing their own personal situation, limitation, patience? just to dump their dutiful responsibilities on someone else because government says they can at the expense of people uninvolved? maybe you'd be wiser if there was a legitimate reason for your frustrations and even more wise if you didn't use your energy wasting time to destroy America's individual freedom of choice? The parents of children who become foster should stand to pay the bills the parents bring forth as a consequence of the parents own choosing!
      people who's actions prove to be less than responsible to the needs of the children they bring into the world should be fixed, not enabled…
      simple way to control the population is to put the costs of the responsibilities to being a parent where they rightfully belong, with the parents. wiser choices and self control will prevail and will eliminate unconstitutional government!

      Michelle Bachmann fostered 23 children…

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