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It’s a hard knock life

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Raymond and Sylvia Munoz did not know what they were getting into when they first signed up to be foster parents. They nearly called it quits after helping 30 foster kids then the arrival of Sean opened their hearts to the possibility of adoption.

"It’s been 13 years of bliss," said Sylvia recalling the day.

When Sean’s adoptive father, a military veteran and Americorp volunteer passed away in 2010, Sylvia was left on her own to raise a teen.

She was at the adoption orientation for National Adoption Awareness Day at the State Capitol on Nov 3 to find out how to adopt two older foster siblings.

It’s a hard knock life for 60,000 foster kids living in California. Though, 25,000 of these children are eligible for adoption.  The thought of a  caring role model and a permanent place to call home is really all they need. 

In the greater Sacramento region alone, there are over 3,400 foster kids in the system. 1,000 of these children need a permanent family. Many are teens who will otherwise age out of the system with daunting odds.

Studies conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services from 2009, show that within 2-4 years over 50% of these young adults will struggle with outcomes as homelessness, drug addiction, or imprisonment.

Given the trauma they experience when the kids are separated from their families and removed from their home for their own protection. Too many live in uncertainty, unsure of what is happening and who is committed to them for a lifetime.

An intimate panel with EMQ Families First, Lilliput Children’s Services, and Sierra Forever Families, as well as Sacramento County Child Protective Services addressed The Need, Myths, and Reality about adoption.

Here are some common fears and realities that they shared:

It’s not too expensive to adopt from foster care. While domestic infant adoption and international adoption vary in cost from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, there is little or no cost to adopt from foster care. 

The parents of the children will come back to reclaim them. Once parental rights have been terminated by the court, the parents have no further recourse for gaining custody of the children. The adoption is final.

Children in foster care are not all juvenile delinquents. Children enter the foster care system through no fault of their own, they may have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, and deserve every effort to help them find a permanent loving home.

Single parents cannot adopt. Single parents can and do, adopt. Last year, from the children adopted from foster care, 31% were adopted by single parents.

“The first thing to do is to find a foster care parent support group and talk to those who have adopted. They can share with you their experience, hope, and candid advice on adoption and parenting a child who is a survivor of foster care,” said Bob Herne from Sierra Families.

If interested in adopting, please begin with organizations listed in this Sac Press article

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