“If families would take one extra child, all children in Minnesota would have a home,” said Toni Conner, a single foster parent of three teenage boys. “We have issues right here in Minnesota that need to be taken care of.” Ms. Connor said the adoptive process is long and not inviting but rewarding.
On Sunday, November 6, the Department of Human Services kicked off National Adoption Month by honoring parents who have adopted children and highlighting children who are still waiting. Beth Voigt, communication manager of DHS, estimated that 800 to 1000 people attended the Circus of the Heart Event at the Prom Center Facility in Oakdale.
As of September 1, 823 children are under state guardianship in Minnesota. Of those, 339 children are in need of immediate permanent families. Teens wait the longest to be adopted and make up one-third of the 339 children. Siblings (26 percent are siblings) also are hard to be place.
A teen spokesperson for the event, Yves Spies, who was adopted 11 days short of his 18th birthday said, “It is very stressful for teens to go from home to home. We need a home just as much as these little children here today. I actually asked myself did I really want to be adopted. Now I can look forward to coming home from college because I have a family to come home to. People take having a family for granted.”
“We started this program 14 years ago,” said Minnesota Human Services commissioner, Lucinda Jesson. “We then had 1000 children in need of adoption. Last year, 588 were adopted from state guardianship. We are making strides.”
A Circus of the Heart was sponsored by MN ADOPT, a program managed by Minnesota Adoption Resource Network (MARN) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
For further information, call the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network, 612/861-7115, or www.mnadopt.org, or your county human services agency.