The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council are launching a new series of Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) that builds upon the successful and engaging "You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent" campaign to encourage the adoption of children from the U.S. foster care system (AFCARS).
Distributing during National Adoption Month (November), the new PSAs feature teens and their adoptive parents interacting in lighthearted, everyday moments. AFCARS data shows that teenagers in foster care wait longer for adoptive homes than younger children. Families who adopt teens are giving these children the support and stability of a family and home during a time when they are dealing with traditional adolescent issues, and have the added stress that comes from separation from their families and uncertainty about their future.
The PSAs highlight that even if you are not "perfect," you have the ability to provide the stability and security that teens in foster care need and deserve. Oftentimes, teens are over-represented in foster care because potential parents may not think they have what it takes to care for an older child. The new PSAs show that all parents make mistakes and being a good adoptive parent for teens does not require perfection. Rather, it requires the very traits that many potential parents may not even know they already possess: time, stability, maturity, commitment, flexibility, compassion, a sense of humor, patience, a team player attitude and an overall love of children.
National Project Director for AdoptUSKids Kathy Ledesma talked about the tall task of trying to find homes for foster kids.
"Well November is National Adoption Month, and each year during this month, the Ad Council on behalf of the 'U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' and 'Adopt US Kids' launches a campaign that targets the recruitment of adoptive families for a certain segment of the waiving child population. Currently there are 400,000 kids in foster care in the United States [and] 104,000 are available for adoption and as you said, 33,000 are teenagers. This year's campaign focuses on recruiting families for 14 and 16 year olds. Right there in Colorado, there are [more than 175] 14 to 16 year olds who are in foster care and are waiting to be adopted" Ledesma said.
Adoptive parent Dr. Janet Kerin talked about her experience as an adoptive parent.
"I adopted right there in Colorado. I adopted a sibling group of three brothers. At the time, they were four, seven and 15, and now they are nine, 12 and 19," Kerin said.
"Three boys bouncing off the furniture all the time, but we have a lot of fun. We ski a lot. We do a lot of outdoor activities, ATVs, football is big in our house," Kerin said.
For more information, you can go to http://www.adoptuskids.org/.
Nate Chisholm contributed to this report.
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