750 kids can be adopted in Virginia: 30 Days of Hope

“They deserve an opportunity to have a normal home life just like any other youth of any age”

There are more than 750 children who are ready for adoption in Virginia. They are ready to find a permanent and loving forever family. Every day in November, 10 News will share the stories of one child who needs a home in 30 Days of Hope. The children are of all ages and races and were put into foster care due to no fault of their own. 2023 marks the seventh year 10 News is doing this series.

30 Days of Hope is back! All month, 10 News will show you just some of the kids who can be adopted in Virginia.

These children are in foster care due to no fault of their own and want a family. But for that to happen, we need families to come forward, willing to foster and adopt.

“We are constantly thinking outside of the box on how we can give children the best possible outcome, and that’s to be raised in the family,” said Heather Linkous, the Montgomery County Foster Care and Adoption Family Services supervisor. “We feel like the work that we do here at Montgomery is invaluable. We feel that we strive to work with any family, biological family, fictive kin family, anybody who wants to be a natural support to the youth who come into care.”

There are about 5,000 children currently in foster care in Virginia. More than 750 of those children are ready for adoption - looking for loving, safe families.

“We know that children thrive in the family setting, and so it is very important for them to have that lifelong connection with a family,” said Chris Claiborne, who works with the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Claiborne said most of the children that can be adopted are between the ages of 12 and 17.

“I think that those children have a very hard time. Sometimes they’re in and out of residential facilities. They are considered to be hard to place because nobody kind of wants the teens. Everybody wants to foster and adopt the younger children,” said Claiborne.

Linkous said Montgomery County is seeing the same thing.

“They deserve an opportunity to have a normal home life just like any other youth of any age,” said Linkous.

Over the next 30 days, we’ll introduce you to children who are just like our own children. They want to go to school and have friends, live incredibly normal lives and have a family.

“The importance is to spotlight children who may not be seen and help them find a forever home,” said Claiborne.

30 Days of Hope works! Last year, about half of the 900 adoptions in Virginia were from our region, which is made up of the Western and Piedmont regions of VDSS.

Claiborne said the high numbers of success are due, in part, to the 10 News 30 days of Hope spotlights.

“Children are being placed, [and] families are coming forward to say, ‘Hey, I am interested in this kid. What can I do? How can I help? How can I jump in?’ So because of this, we’ve definitely seen some great things happen,” said Claiborne.

We want that to happen again this year.

To foster or adopt a child in Virginia, you must be at least 18 years of age or older to be approved as an adoptive parent. Adoptive parents can be single, married, divorced or widowed, but what is most important is that they have the time and energy to give a child a lifetime commitment. The Commonwealth of Virginia does not prevent a person from becoming an adoptive parent based solely on their culture, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or marital/civil union status.

Families adopting a child from foster care often receive adoption assistance, and in most cases, there are few or no fees to finalize an adoption.

To find out more, visit this link for all the frequently asked questions.

To take the next step and get more information about foster care and adoption, contact the VDSS Division of Family Services Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at adoptioninquiries@dss.virginia.gov.

There are about 5,000 children in Virginia’s foster care program and more than 750 of those children can be adopted. If you have questions about foster care/adoption, contact the VDSS Division of Family Services Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at adoptioninquiries@dss.virginia.gov.

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 qualifications, cost, and training required in this link.

About the Author:

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.