Across the country, thousands of kids in foster care are waiting for forever families. Each year, courts celebrate National Adoption Day to raise awareness.
Last week, Starke Circuit Court opened four of its adoption hearings to the public. Judge Kim Hall says it’s the only time of the year the Indiana Supreme Court allows video and photography in the courtroom.
“They do that, obviously, to promote the legal option of adoption because there are so many children in Indiana who actually need to be adopted,” Hall explains. “The idea is, hopefully, it’ll touch the hearts of some people considering adoption and maybe assist them in how the process works and take some of the intimidation out of it.”
For families considering adoption, the Indiana Adoption Program is there to help match them with kids in foster care.
Adoption Specialist Ivraline Applewhite discussed the process during last week’s event. “Our families have been background checked, fingerprinted, have an adoption home study,” she explained. “They go through the Resource and Adoptive Parent Training and fulfill the requirements that the state has mandated in order to adopt a child through child welfare.”
After that, the families are considered for adoption recommendation. If approved, they’re added into the program’s database, making them eligible to look at profiles of children ready for an adoptive family. “The family, as part of our matching process with the Indiana Adoption Program, are interviewed and matched with the child because we’re trying to find the perfect family for these children,”
Applewhite continued. “We know that there are a lot of great families in the State of Indiana, and we’re looking for the great family for the children that we have who are survivors and they’re very resilient.”
Last week’s event was arranged in cooperation with Starke County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program, a group of volunteers who help guide abused and neglected kids through the court system.
Starke County CASA Director Rhonda Adcock encouraged everyone in attendance to think about what they can do to help children find a forever family. “Some of you can be that family,” she said. “Some of you are going to become that family today. But all of you can speak about the issue with a friend, post reminders on social media, or speak to groups that you are a part of, such as churches or service organizations, about the possibility of holding an adoption awareness event in your community.”
You can learn more about the adoption process by visiting IndianaAdoptionProgram.org.