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More Brooklyn Families Choose Childhood Adoption

Brooklyn families are eagerly committing the ultimate act of kindness – opening their hearts and homes to needy children. Brooklyn Family Court finalized the adoptions of 125 children on National Adoption Day. Created six years ago by the National Adoption Day Coalition, the annual November event promotes the benefits of adoption and the need for prospective parents to consider taking in a child in foster care. “All children deserve safe, permanent homes with families who love and care for them,” said New York Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. “As we continue to improve the process for foster care adoptions, identifying and eliminating bureaucratic logjams while always ensuring safety, we help children move more quickly into the security and stability of their own ‘forever families,’ where they can thrive. National Adoption Day keeps us focused on that most worthy goal.” Credited to the publicity generated by National Adoption Day, the number of people considering adopting a child is on the rise. According to data released by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, single women are particularly interested in expanding their families. From 1995 to 2002, women, ages 18-44, who were interested in adopting increased from 13 million to 18 million – a 38 percent jump. Of these women, 760,000 said they were currently taking steps to adopt – a 52 percent increase from 1995. Rita Soronen, co-chair of the National Adoption Day Coalition and executive director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, credited the figures to “the changing definition and role of women in America today as both nurturer and professional.” Oftentimes, “Women are in the workforce so they’ve delayed [having children],” she said. For this reason, many women turn to adoption later on in life. “As a woman gets into her career and suddenly realizes, ‘Hey, I’m 35, I’m not married, and I want to start having kids,’” Soronen said. This works out for all involved because “single women can adopt now,” she added. “The face of adoption is changing. The dynamics of who can adopt and what the families look like is evolving as the American family is evolving,” she said. In New York State, there are more than 4,300 children in foster care waiting to be adopted. Approximately 119,000 foster children are in need of homes in the United States. Once children leave foster care and move into permanent homes, they often flourish in their new surroundings, Soronen said. “If they have consistency, love, a sense of permanency that they are not going to keep moving, and that no one is going to harm them,” she said, “then these children thrive as well as any biological child or other child. This is about a sense of safety and a sense of belonging.” The adoption process is just as, if not more, emotionally fulfilling to parents. “They grow in all the ways that any parent grows. Any adult that thrives on parenting understands that growth – trading a personal selfishness for this family unit,” Soronen said. Adoptive parents develop an “unconditional bond with a child,” she said. “There’s an incredible growth that comes from that.” Soronen offered some advice to Brooklynites considering adoption. “First of all, if you are even thinking about it, get all the information you can. There’s all sorts of websites,” she said. Prospective parents should then decide if they want to expand their families through private adoptions or foster care adoptions. Although, in the past, there has been a stigma placed on the foster care system, Soronen encouraged Brooklynites to ignore the reputation and consider providing a home to the city’s neediest children. “If you’re thinking about adoption, think about foster care adoption if you haven’t because there are so many wonderful children in foster care who are waiting from birth to 18 [years of age],” she said. While many people want to adopt babies, Soronen said, “If you’re thinking about foster care adoption, think about an older child.” These are the kids who spent much of their youths in need of permanent and loving homes, she said. There are many options for Brooklynites interested in adopting a child. The website for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, www.nyc.gov/adopt, offers vast information about the foster care process and a guide for people looking to adopt. A Brooklyn-based adoption agency, You Gotta Believe, whose slogan is “Adopting Older Kids And Youth is A-Okay,” hosts regular information sessions about adoption proceedings. The meetings are held every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 2801 West 8th Street in Coney Island. For more information, contact 718-372-3003 or log onto www.yougottabelieve.org. Read the Urban Institute’s full report on the state of adoption at www.urban.org. Learn more about National Adoption Day at www.nationaladoptionday.org.

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