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Build your family with love through foster care adoption

Many couples decide to create their families through adoption for a wide variety of reasons. Whether they dream of a large, loving family or picture raising a single child, however, many couples begin the adoption process assuming the child they welcome into their home will be an infant.

If you're considering adopting a child, take a moment to re-imagine the possibilities. Could adopting a child or children from foster care be a way to build that loving future family?

Right now, North Carolina's foster care system is in a crisis situation. The past five years have brought a truly alarming 25-percent increase in the number of children entering our child protection and foster care systems. That translates to approximately 10,500 North Carolina children in the foster care system, many of whom need a permanent, loving home right now.

"These children have not done anything wrong," says a spokesperson for the Children's Home Society. "They have a lot to give to the world, and we can help make life more beautiful for them."

Will their biological parents want the kids back? If not, won't their foster parents adopt them?

It's true that some of the children in the foster care system are involved in child protection cases. These kids are with foster families for their own protection while their parents work to resolve the issues that brought them to the attention of Child Protective Services. They are not available for adoption during this process; children are only available or adoption when their parents are deceased or their parental rights terminated.

Sometimes, foster parents do decide to adopt their foster kids, but it isn't common. Foster parents typically chose that role intentionally, with the goal of giving a safe, stable and caring home for displaced children on an ongoing basis.

You may worry that a foster kid will be difficult, considering the trauma they may have experienced. This can be the case, and it is something a responsible person would take into account. Consider, however, that a foster child is unlikely to be more difficult to handle than a newborn.

"The longer (children) are in foster care, the greater their trauma and special needs become," adds state Sen. Tamara Barringer, who has worked on the issue. "They need permanency. Who wouldn't be affected by that? Those needs can be overcome by the right parents."

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