Adoption Day aims to match children with new families
A family matching event in East Franklin Saturday aims to give prospective adoptive and foster parents a chance to connect with children who are waiting to be welcomed into a nurturing home.
The county’s Adoption Day celebration will provide information about the adoption and foster care process while offering free skating, lunch and a chance to win prizes. It is sponsored by Armstrong County Children, Youth and Family Services and will be held at the Belmont Complex.
Adoption agencies will be on hand to provide photos and biographies of children from around the region. Those agencies include Adoption Connection, Bair Foundation, Adelphoi and Family Pathways.
“Most of us take it for granted that we have a family and the support we need,” said Lynn Kovar, a paralegal with the Legal Services Initiative of the Statewide Adoption Network (SWAN).
“But these children are living with uncertainty. When they find that family stability, they feel safer and do better, knowing that someone cares,” she said.
Armstrong County supports the annual event and the county commissioners have declared November Adoption Awareness Month.
Providing accurate information at Adoption Day is a way to help debunk some commonly held myths about fostering, said Dennis Demangone, county CYS administrator.
Some of those misconceptions, he said, include the presumption that adoptive parents must be perfect “Ozzie and Harriet” types or that children in foster care have too much “baggage.” Others worry about possible expenses or think there will be a lot of bureaucratic red tape.
“In our county, we have successfully recruited families for our state’s ‘waiting children,’ the 2,600 children across Pennsylvania for whom adoption is their permanency plan,” Demangone said.
“We consider it a success if we recruit one or two families who will consider adoption and begin to seriously look at children who are registered on the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange,” he said.
Because there are not enough families in the county who are willing to serve as foster parents, children from Armstrong County have had to be placed elsewhere, such as homes supervised by a private child welfare agency from whom the county agency purchases the service, Demangone said.
“This is not the ideal situation since we prefer to have a child remain in our county and, if school age, remain in the school the child attended prior to the child’s entry into care,” he said.
That would mean one less thing to change in the child’s life if the child was able to remain in the same school with the same teacher and classmates, he said.
Those who step up to help likely already have the qualities essential for the task, Kovar said.
“You have to have a big heart because you are welcoming a child into your home,” she said.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or [email protected].