Everyone is connected to adoption in some way – whether it be adoption through foster care, private adoption, international adoption, or adoption of a family member. Regardless of how an adoption happens, adoptees deserve to feel connected and know that they belong to a family and we want to celebrate those connections. As attorneys, we play an important role in advocating for a child to achieve permanency through adoption and guardianship. This month, we celebrate National Adoption Month.

Did you know that there are over 123,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted in the United States?[1] Older children in foster care, particularly teenagers, have a hard time being adopted from foster care. Of the estimated 437,000 youth in the U.S. foster care system, 123,000 youth are currently waiting for adoptive families. In the Cook County, there are over 4,700 children placed in foster care, relative care, group homes, or institutions.[2] At least 2000 of those children are in foster care.

“As a case carrying social worker in Alabama, many of the young people I worked with were older teens in the foster care system,” says Jerry Milner, the Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau. “Many of these young people are experiencing foster care through no fault of their own, and I believe we must do a better job of highlighting the importance a forever family has on these older youths’ wellbeing and the impact it plays on their transition to adulthood. Even with our stronger focus on primary prevention, we know that there will still be a need for foster care and furthermore, some of those young people becoming eligible for adoption. I am excited to see and proud to be a proponent of this greater focus on the need to adopt older teens from foster care. We know family, by any definition, is the best resource we have to create an environment for young people to be safe, healthy, and ultimately thrive.”[3]

Many parents look forward to their journey of raising a family and experiencing “firsts” with their babies—such as first steps and first words—but often don’t think of first experiences with teens. The PSA campaign, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent”, highlights the impact of adopting teens from foster care and showcases that there are many “firsts” for families to share, regardless of their child’s age. Thousands of teens in foster care can’t wait to share their firsts with you,” If you are thinking about becoming an adoptive parent, you don’t have to be perfect to provide the love, stability and security that teens in foster care need and deserve.[4]

To become a foster or adoptive parent in Illinois, call 800-572-2390.

What is your connection to Adoption?

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