LYNCHBURG, Va. – There are more than 600 children who are ready for adoption in Virginia. They are ready to find a permanent and loving forever family. 10 News is profiling one child who needs a home every day at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in 30 Days of Hope. The children are all ages and races and were put into foster care due to no fault of their own. 2021 marks the fifth year 10 News is doing this series.
“There’s always a tremendous need for foster and adoptive families. Children come in and out of foster care and we need a safe place to keep them,” said April Watson the Interim Deputy Director for Lynchburg Human Services.
More than 160 kids are in foster care in Lynchburg. They’re some of the more than 5,000 across Virginia in foster care.
“There are older children, there are sibling groups and there are children with special needs that are awaiting adoptive placements and they are just as deserving and worthy of a home,” said Watson.
More than 600 children are ready for adoption right now in the Commonwealth. You don’t have to be rich or have a large home to help.
“Single parents, married couples, families that already have children, families that don’t have children. Just about anybody as long as you can meet the competencies, pass background checks and really have patience and a home that’s available you can become a foster parent,” said Watson.
She said older children that are waiting need someone to turn to.
“We know that everybody needs support throughout their entire life, when you’re 18, that need doesn’t just go away,” said Watson. “We know that the outcomes for youth that age out of care are dire, really. Oftentimes there’s incarceration, homelessness. A lot of those individuals age out of care without the life skills they need. It’s older kids who know that they’re missing something, that want a family, that feel that every day.”
If you’re considering it, Watson said you can do it.
“You need love and patience and you don’t have to be this superhero. You don’t have to be this person that has all the connections in the community. You have to have time, space and the ability to give and to meet that child where they are, meet their needs. That’s all it takes,” said Watson.
In Virginia, there is required training to be a foster or adoptive parent. That varies from agency to agency, but some of the same competencies are there.
“You’ll talk about grief, loss, the court system, what all that looks like. How to support children, how to work through those things,” said Watson.
She broke the process down for becoming a foster/adoptive parent in Lynchburg:
- Initial interview: Tell us what brought you to foster care, why are you interested, why you want to help your community.
- Information session: We get to know one another, talk about the paperwork, what’s required and some of the competencies and expectations.
- Training and paperwork: You will go through training, they will do home visits while you complete background checks and other things like physicals and TB tests
If you have questions about foster care/adoption, contact VDSS Division of Family Services, Juliet Baldwin, Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see other 30 Days of Hope stories visit us here.
We also have a list of frequently asked questions about foster care and adoption including the cost, training, etc in this link.