National Adoption Month: Changing lives, touching hearts, building bright futures
During National Adoption Month in November, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is celebrating families that have opened their hearts and homes to youth in need, and shining a light on the thousands of children in foster care who are still waiting to be adopted.
Each year, the Children’s Bureau – part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – launches a campaign to “increase national awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the foster care system, and emphasize the value of youth engagement.” This year’s theme – “Small Steps Open Doors” – focuses on the importance of taking the time to talk with youth to earn their trust and help them become more involved in their permanency planning.
According to the most recent Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System data, there are more than 407,000 children in foster care in the U.S., and more than 117,000 children waiting to be adopted (more than 14,000 are 15 to 17 years old.)
“At Devereux, we are proud to work with foster and adoptive families to help children living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences find safe, stable and supportive homes where they can grow and thrive,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rhea Fernandes, Psy.D. “Our families are heroes and beacons of hope. They skillfully and lovingly serve as mentors, teachers and role models for those in their care, providing comfort and healing to children in their time of greatest need. To be a foster or adoptive parent is to lead selflessly and do life-changing work in a child’s life.”
Positively impacting the lives of others
Since 2008, Aundretha and Calvin Casper have fostered approximately 40 children. The Caspers, who also have four adopted kids, became therapeutic foster parents with Devereux Georgia in 2019.
Aundretha says fostering has always come naturally to her.
“I just love kids, and it’s really been a joy to foster” she shared. “The biggest reward is being able to see them grow, evolve and become productive adults. I still keep in touch with some of them. A couple of years ago, a young girl who lived with us early on with her siblings graduated from high school. She called me every day to make sure I was coming to her graduation.”
Calvin says he has learned a lot over the years, and encourages other foster and adoptive parents to meet the children where they are emotionally.
“Get to know them, and be upfront with any challenges they may face,” he explained. “Kids are kids. The same values you instill in your biological children, you can instill in these kids. Reassure them, support them and tell them, ‘Don’t let your past, dictate your future.’”
Aundretha noted that foster parents can have a significant impact on a child’s life.
“You have the power to help kids become more self-aware and have greater self-love,” she said. “Show them they mean something to the world and they are important – they are not just a kid in foster care, they are somebody.”
Begin your foster care journey today!
At Devereux, we believe every child deserves a loving and nurturing family, and a positive home environment, to help them flourish and achieve their full potential. Our foster care services are offered in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Devereux seeks a diverse pool of foster parents/providers who reflect our diverse clientele. We welcome single, married, partnered or cohabitating individuals to become foster parent/providers.
Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s foster care services, and how to become a foster parent/provider.
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