(editor’s note: There are so many great kids in foster care! So many who would love a forever family of their own! InCity Times supports programs that help poor/special needs kids find moms and dads and siblings who will love them always. Here’s yet another story and more information for folks. – R.T.)
Adoption Rocks the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Massachusetts
By Kristin Erekson
Hip Hop pioneer and legendary rapper Darryl “DMC” McDaniels brought the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrities to their feet when he told the crowd “You’re looking at what can happen when you give love to a kid.”
Recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, McDaniels credits his personal success to having been adopted from foster care by a loving family.
“The best thing you can do is give love to a kid, ‘cause that kid may grow up to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” he added.
And right now, there are nearly 2,400 children in Massachusetts foster care waiting to be adopted by families just like McDaniel’s – families that will give them their opportunity to thrive.
Adoptive families come in all shapes and sizes. Families adopting children out of foster care may be movie stars, like My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos, or they could be the teacher and construction worker down the street. But one thing they all have in common is the desire to grow their families through adoption, and the knowledge that a child in foster care may be the child who belongs in their family.
What most people interested in building their family through adoption don’t know is that there are thousands of children and teens right here in Massachusetts looking to be part of a loving home to call their own. They also don’t realize that thousands of local families have already adopted children from state foster care.
While international adoption is well known because of celebrity adoptions, those adoptions can easily cost $30,000 or more. Adoption from foster care is virtually free, with free training and assistance from social workers.
Prospective adoptive parents for children in foster care can be almost any age (21+) and can be single, partnered, or married. Adoptive parents can be experienced “empty nesters,” new to parenting, or have children already living in the home. Gay and lesbian singles and couples are equally eligible to adopt a child from foster care. Adoptive families can be homeowners or renters and have nearly any level of income, as long as it’s stable and sufficient to support the household. Financial subsidies may also be available, and children adopted from foster care are eligible to attend Massachusetts state colleges tuition-free (if admitted).
“Not only does adoption from foster care benefit the adopted child, but it also benefits the adoptive family,” says Lisa Funaro, executive director of the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE). “All adoptions bring the emotional joys and benefits of building a family, but adoption from foster care helps families grow without the financial barriers involved in international or private adoption.”
Who are the children waiting for adoption?
Youngsters find themselves in foster care through no fault of their own. When it becomes clear that their birth parents simply cannot raise them, they need to find a permanent, loving family who can. Adoption can give these children what most of us take for granted – the chance to grow up in a family where we know we’ll always belong.
These youth are most likely living in your neighborhood right now, whether it’s in a temporary foster home or in a residential group facility. A child waiting for an adoptive family could be that shy boy on the same Little League team as your son or that teenage girl you see working at your local grocery store after school.
What the children all have in common is their need for basic safety, security, and love.
Since 1957, the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) has been working to find “a permanent place to call home” for children in foster care in Massachusetts, including sibling groups and children who are traditionally harder to place. MARE does this by recruiting, educating, supporting and advocating for families throughout the adoption process while targeting recruitment efforts to attract potential parents for specific children. MARE is the Commonwealth’s central clearing-house for adoption information and referral, and works to identify matches between children and families.
The children MARE serves are considered the hardest-to-place. They are predominately Latino and African American, ranging in age from six to sixteen. While children in foster care with the goal of adoption can be infants, most of the waiting children are older. They face challenges from living in temporary foster care and may have emotional, intellectual, and/or physical disabilities. The majority of these children have suffered abuse and/or neglect that necessitated their removal from their birth homes. But despite their sad histories, MARE has found “forever families” for more than 5,200 of these youth over the past 51 years. And while love and stability can help children thrive in adoptive families, post-adoption services are also available to help families over time.
“MARE’s ultimate goal is to find a permanent home for every child in foster care who has the goal of adoption,” Funaro said. “But, unfortunately, new children enter our caseload every week. We must consistently reach out to the public and encourage them to open their hearts and homes to learn about adoption of a waiting child.”
“We need more families to step up and take positive roles in the lives of these children as adoptive parents,” Funaro added. “You can be the star in a child’s life, and maybe, one day, he’ll thank YOU when he’s inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
To learn more about adoption from foster care, contact the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) at 617-54-ADOPT (617-542-3678).
DID YOU KNOW …
• There are more than 500 children in Massachusetts foster care with no potential adopters – no aunt, uncle, grandparent or teacher considering providing them with a home
Who can adopt a child from foster care?
• Single, married, partnered, and LGBT adults
• Renters or homeowners
• Those 21+ with a stable income to support a household
• Every race, ethnicity and religion
What does it cost?
• Little or nothing – no high fees or travel costs
• Free adoption training program to learn how to support the physical and emotional needs of a child
• Financial and medical subsidies may be available
• Adoption tax credit
• College financial aid and tuition subsidies may be available
Want to learn more? • Call the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc. (MARE) for personal counseling on adoption at 617-54-ADOPT (542-3678).