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Tag Archive | "foster care"

Giving children in foster care and families a reason to be forever thankful

Samaritas raises awareness to ongoing foster care crisis

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. The challenges of 2020, resulting from the global pandemic, are well-documented. As many across Michigan prepare to gather and celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones during this difficult year, Samaritas reminds everyone that now is the time to be forever thankful for family and friends – that families cannot take anything for granted when life is so precious. As the holidays approach, hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children in the U.S. foster care system, including 2,500 in Michigan, are awaiting the love of a forever family.

“Every child needs love, shelter and guidance,” said Sam Beals, CEO of Samaritas. “Unfortunately, these basic needs are missing for some children, and the older the child, the more dire the circumstances. To that end, more than 23,000 children age out of the U.S. foster care system every year, and of these children, less than 3 percent will earn a college degree and only half will have gainful employment by the age of 24. It should come as no surprise that the love of a forever family can make a life-changing impact on a child – be they an infant or a teenager.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted adoption services across the country, organizations dedicated to ensuring children receive the love and nurturing they so desperately need continue to work tirelessly to place children with loving families. Through its commitment to children in crisis, Samaritas has supported the placement of 223 foster care children with adoptive families in Michigan since the pandemic began.

“We’re asking families to open their hearts and homes for this life-changing experience. Parents often tell us how much they learn from the children that they adopt, and in the end, they’re the ones that are forever thankful,” Beals continued. “If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we must be there for one another – that we must step up to help those who need assistance. When challenges arise that result in children needing a foster family, we must pick up the mantle and provide what they need so that they can lead a healthy, productive life that is supported by community and a connection to others.”

In 2019, Samaritas, in partnership with Lutheran Adoption Service, worked with more than 290 families to place more than 390 children in adoptive homes across Michigan. For more information on adopting a child from foster care or how you can support vulnerable children in Michigan, please visit Samaritas.org/foster-care/adoption, or call 248-663-0697.

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More than 300 children in foster care need adoptive homes 

Bruce is among the Michigan children who are available for adoption.

Mariah is among the Michigan children who are available for adoption.

Mariah, 15, is from Wayne County and enjoys playing cards and crocheting purses. 

Bruce, 13, is from Kent County and likes koala bears and french fries. He says he wishes for “family safety, for lots of love, and for the world to be a better place.” 

Bruce and Mariah are among the approximately 330 children in Michigan’s foster care system looking for loving adoptive homes. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is sharing their stories during November, which has been proclaimed Adoption Month in Michigan by Gov. Rick Snyder. Nov. 21 is Adoption Day in Michigan. 

Anyone interested in adopting from foster care can contact the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange at 800-589-6273 or see biographies and photos of children available for adoption, including Bruce and Mariah, at www.mare.org

MDHHS, in partnership with adoption agencies and the courts, works to find and create forever families through adoption. In fiscal year 2017, more than 1,900 children were adopted from the Michigan foster care system. 

“All children should have permanent homes to call their own,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “We appreciate the love and stability provided by our adoptive families and hope that more Michiganders will open their hearts to adoption.” 

People can adopt whether they’re single or married. They don’t have to be wealthy or own their own home, but must have adequate financial resources to provide for a family. 

Children in the foster care system become eligible for adoption following termination of parental rights due to abuse or neglect. There are about 13,000 children in the foster care system, but the goal for most of these children is reunification with their families. 

New families are becoming “official” at Adoption Day ceremonies around the state this month, including Nov. 21 at the Michigan Supreme Court Hall of Justice in Lansing. 

Details can be found on the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange Adoption Day 

webpage, along with profiles of outstanding adoptive families and wishes being granted to the families this month. 

For more information about adoption in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/adoption

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Gifts that matter


Your donation to a nonprofit that gives foster kids holiday gifts can make a big difference in young lives.

(NAPS)—This holiday season, you can join forces with a nonprofit that helps thousands of kids in foster care open a gift with their name on the tag.

These children generally have very little in the way of luxury or even stuff they can call their own. And they rarely get presents.

One Woman’s Story

That was what Latasha Haynes’ life was like when the organization helped change her future forever by buying her a camera—her first.

“I didn’t get a lot of Christmas gifts,” said Haynes, now 35, “so that first camera was a huge deal.” Now a professional photographer, she travels the country with her husband, also a photographer, and their daughter.

The Organization

The nonprofit that helped Haynes, Treehouse, gives children meaningful holiday presents such as bikes and tablets every year through its Holiday Magic program.

In addition, its Little Wishes program provides financial support for extracurricular activities and other experiences essential to any child’s development. And the organization’s Graduation Success program has dramatically increased graduation rates for youth in foster care.

“This year we are proud to continue giving kids in foster care a childhood and a future,” said Janis Avery, CEO of Treehouse. “If you are looking for a way to share the spirit of giving, it’s easy to get involved.” 

What You Can Do

Visit www.treehouseforkids.org and click “Donate” to give directly. Or email drives@treehouseforkids.org to host your own donation drive. Nearly anyone can conduct a drive, from businesses to community groups and families.

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