November is National Adoption Awareness Month in the United States. Besides being a time for adoptive parents and their children to reflect on the journey that brought them together, it is also a necessary reminder of how many children are living in foster care or other situations without a legal parent in their lives.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, last year, more than 114,000 children and youths were at risk of aging out of foster care without any permanent family connections to support them. Their average age was 7.5 years old, but 22 percent of the minors seeking adoption were teenagers aged 13-17. Children spend an average of 34 months waiting for an individual or couple to adopt them. Once a child reaches their teen years without becoming adopted, their risk of aging out increases.
Children of all races and ethnicities are currently in foster care in New York and across the country. But the most commonly represented groups were White (43 percent of children), Hispanic (23 percent) and Black (21 percent).
No relatives to adopt them
Many adoptions occur within families, such as a stepparent adopting their stepchildren or a grandparent adopting their grandchild. But many children have no family members who are willing or able to adopt them. They are waiting for someone to become their family. And not every foster family is a good enough fit that the foster parents would consider adoption.
If you are considering adoption, the process can seem overwhelming. Working with a family law attorney who regularly assists with adoption can help you find the right agency, get through the paperwork, and resolve any legal issues.