National Adoption Day a time to learn, act in county, city

Published 8:23 am Monday, November 25, 2019

On National Adoption Day, today, adoptions around the country, including Carter County, will be finalized and communities will celebrate these new families.
In Carter County, 12 adoptions will be finalized, including six others that have already taken place this year.
At many of these celebrations, judges declare the creation of a forever family. That’s what adoption should mean — love, stability, and a place to call home forever.
Today, and during the month of November, which is National Adoption Month, it’s important to recognize and celebrate adoption as a pathway to a safe, loving, and permanent place to call home for youth in foster care.
Those who make the decision to open their hearts and homes to children in need should be commended.
The first National Adoption Day was inspired by the innovative efforts of Michael Nash, a former presiding judge of Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Court. He opened the court on Saturdays, engaged the volunteer efforts of court personnel and finalized adoptions to reduce the backlog of one of the busiest courts in the nation.
The observance, which has been held every year since 2000, was started by a coalition of charities, including the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the Children’s Action Network.
The average wait for a foster child to be adopted is almost four years, and more than 23,000 foster children age out of the foster system every year without a home, according to the National Adoption Day website.
In Tennessee, there are slightly less than 8,000 children in foster care.
That’s 8,000 children without a permanent home, away from their birth families and living in some level of uncertainty about their futures.
Foster care is designed to be temporary, and while we have wonderful foster families caring for our children, those kids know it’s not forever. Most of these children in foster care won’t need adoptive homes, but the ones that do have experienced a lot of loss, anger and disappointment in their young lives, and they deserve families who can support them as they deal with those experiences.
The Carter County Chancery Court is hosting an event from 10 a.m. to noon today to mark National Adoption Day. Today’s event will take place at the Carter County Courthouse in Elizabethton.
Twelve families will complete the adoption process on Saturday in the eyes of the public.
Presently, there are less than 4,000 foster families in Tennessee willing to provide homes for foster children.
The opioid epidemic in Tennessee has caused a significant increase in the number of children entering the system and having parental rights terminated. The State has the second highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the nation.
Since 2010 there has been a 51% increase in the number of parents whose parental rights have been terminated. In the same time period, there has been a 56% increase in the number of children waiting to be adopted.
According to data from 2018, there are currently 864 children permanently residing in foster care where parental rights have been terminated. These children remain in foster care until they turn 18, unless adopted.
Today’s event is a way to learn more about adoption and how to provide a “forever home” for the 103 Carter County children living in foster homes.

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