Rachel Crow is an actress, singer and comedian who competed on the television competition show “The X Factor.” By all accounts, she has a bright future ahead of her.
Crow, who was placed in foster care at 6 months old and adopted a year later by her foster care parents, will serve this year as the spokeswoman for National Adoption Day 2013, on Saturday.
Each year, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, thousands of children are moved from foster care to a permanent family.
According to nationaladoptionday.org, “in 2012, more than 4,500 children were adopted by their permanent families during the 13th annual National Adoption Day celebration in almost 400 cities across the United States.”
In Nebraska, there are 304 foster children available for adoption. In 2012, 453 youths were adopted in Nebraska.
According to nationaladoptionday.org, the average child waits two years for an adoptive family. Nine percent spend five years or more waiting for a family.
Rickie Wynne, Nebraska's Children and Family Services permanency supervisor, said: “I can't think of any job of any person that works with us that is more important than the foster parents. Foster parents are the people who meet the day-to-day needs of the children that we work with.”
National Adoption Day celebrates and honors those who have chosen to adopt children, and encourages others to adopt.
“They provide the stability and structure that these children have oftentimes been lacking for so long,” Wynne said. “Foster parents fill in for all of the roles that parents usually fill. They attend school meetings, doctor appointments, take the kids to counseling, teach them responsibility, and tuck them in at night.
“They deal with children who often have attachment issues and other mental health diagnoses and may have very severe behaviors,” Wynne said.
“Some of the foster parents are very involved and help model appropriate parenting so that the children's biological parents can learn to more appropriately parent the child's behaviors.”
A June survey by the Dave Thomas Foundation found that 47 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care — more so than any other form of adoption, including private adoption of an infant or international adoption.
“In my unit we manage cases with permanency goals of adoption or guardianship, and our job is to find forever homes for the children who cannot go home with their parents,” Wynne said. “Oftentimes these children have been neglected, abused, or drug exposed and have behaviors of one kind or another. They need structure, love, stability, and to know that their adoptive parents will never give up on them, no matter how difficult things get.”
National Adoption Day also raises awareness of the more than 23,000 children who age out of the system across the nation each year.
Wynne said “we often have older children (8 and older) that are free for adoption and we have a hard time placing those children. We are always recruiting new foster parents that are willing to provide these kids with permanent homes.”
Rachel Crow may have started life in a crack den, but caring foster parents gave her a loving home where she could thrive.
Potential foster parents can obtain more information at nationaladoptionday.org or call the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services at 800-7PARENT.