“Alex is a true performer at heart! He loves to sing and dance to his favorite performer, Michael Jackson. This social guy is very bright and can hold meaningful conversations pertaining to an array of subjects. He is very nurturing, thoughtful, and caring… Alex is in the fifth grade and is an articulate speaker.”
From this description, you’d think that the young man in question has a bright future—and he certainly has that potential. But the unspoken reality here is that Alex is waiting for a permanent family. Profiles like the one above are posted by agencies and organizations that seek to match children in foster care with forever families. Kids like Alex are waiting to be matched with adoptive families that can nurture their creativity, help them pursue their dreams, and give them a safe place to call home.
Sadly, there are more than 100,000 children and youth in foster care throughout the United States right now who are waiting for a family. Without a permanent family, the future doesn’t look as bright for them. Each year, approximately 25,000 youth age out of foster care at age 18, and statistics show that youth in this position are highly overrepresented in jails and prisons, experience higher rates of unemployment and homelessness, and are, overall, at greater risk for a wide range of negative social outcomes.
So what makes the difference for these kids? Family. It’s as simple as that. Family literally changes the direction of the lives of kids waiting in foster care and significantly reduces the likelihood that they will end up as symbols of educational, social and developmental dysfunction.
Since 2008, an event from Focus on the Family called Wait No More: Finding Families for Waiting Kids has endeavored to change the life trajectories for as many children in foster care as possible.
To date, 24 Wait No More events have been held in 17 different states. As a result, more than 2,800 families have initiated the process of adoption from foster care. Erik and Lynnette are among them:
My husband, Erik and I have two beautiful grown daughters. Erik and I spoke about adoption from the time the girls were small. Then recently I heard on our local Christian radio station about a Focus on the Family Wait No More conference coming to a city nearby and determined to go and find out more. I cried as each speaker shared their story. It broke my heart! I heard how there were so many children waiting for their forever families, and how the older those children are, the more hopeless they would be, just waiting.
That next week I contacted [a local agency] and soon discovered Austin and Cory’s profile online. I read and reread it, and my heart went out to them. I can’t explain it – it’s a God thing – but I fell in love with MY boys! [Several months later] we met with the boys’ caseworker and found out we’d been the couple chosen to parent Austin and Cory!
Our first year together had many struggles. Our lives were turned upside down. God has really shown me through this first year that I can believe, “With God all things are possible.” He has proven Himself again and again.
Our adoption was finalized just five days before their 16th Birthday. Thank you Focus on the Family for holding the Wait No More conference! To God be the glory!
Stories like this are the reason Wait No More exists. Every child that finds a forever family is a reason to celebrate. If you’re interested in learning more about adoption from foster care in your state or attending an upcoming Wait No More event, visit us online at iCareAboutOrphans.org.