National Adoption Month: Helping youth build a better tomorrow
“Every child needs and deserves to know what it’s like to be part of a loving family that won’t give up on them so they can become physically and emotionally healthy – and happy – adults.”
November is National Adoption Month, and Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is 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, develop and thrive.
Each year, the Children’s Bureau – part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – launches a National Adoption Month campaign highlighting the need to find permanent homes for children in the U.S. foster care system. This year’s theme – “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn” – focuses on identifying adoptive families for older youth, and the importance of engaging young people in planning for their future.
According to the most recent Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System data, there are more than 420,000 children in foster care in the U.S., and more than 120,000 children waiting to be adopted (nearly 14,000 are 15 to 17 years old).
“The majority of the families we work with reach out to our center with the intent to foster. However, there are some that develop an incredibly strong bond with a child, and when that child comes up for adoption, they cannot imagine him or her living with anyone else,” Gallagher said. “Foster and adoptive families have the opportunity to change a child’s life. And we work with our families every step of the way as they help those in their care build a better tomorrow.”
Foster family to forever family
Since 2015, Raymond Velasquez and his wife, Grey Cruz, have been working with Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s therapeutic foster care program to help children in need reach their full potential.
Over the years, the couple have fostered 12 children. In October, they adopted four boys in their care, ages 3, 5, 8 and 14, two of whom are brothers.
“Before Grey and I married in 2013, we talked about adopting one day,” shared Velasquez, who is a school bus aide and teaching assistant at a special needs school. “We have so much love to give, and there are kids who don’t have anyone in their lives to provide them with the kind of care and support they need. When our 14-year-old first came to live with us, he was struggling with behavioral challenges and not doing well in school. Now, he’s getting good grades and doing great! These kids may think we’ve changed their lives, but in reality, they’ve changed ours.”
Velasquez says being a foster parent, and now an adoptive parent, is the best decision he’s ever made.
“We’ve cared for children of all ages – babies, teens and everything in between – and each time it’s a completely different experience,” Velasquez explained. “The best part of being a foster parent is seeing how much the kids grow and change. We get to see them truly be themselves, which is gratifying and satisfying in so many ways, and erases every challenge we may have faced along the way.”
Change a life – become a foster parent
Devereux’s foster care programs operate with the belief that all individuals deserve a loving, supportive and nurturing family – and a positive home environment – to help them succeed in life. Our foster care services are offered in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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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