November is Adoption Awareness Month
TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - In recognition of Adoption Awareness Month
this November, the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
(OACAS) and Children's Aid Societies across the province are raising
awareness that all children and youth need and deserve a family to love
and nurture them always.
When parents or caregivers are unable to provide a safe living
environment for their kids, Children's Aid makes every effort to
provide them with support so that kids may remain safely in their
family home, rather than coming into care. Supports may include
parenting classes, counseling and referrals to community agencies such
as mental health or addiction services.
If the safety of a child or youth cannot be ensured and they come into
the permanent care of Children's Aid, a plan for their extended future
is begun immediately. This plan relies on finding a lifelong, permanent
connection for the child or youth - a family. All children and youth
need at least one person to walk the journey of life with them. This
person is someone who is on their side through all of life's ups and
downs - someone who cares and loves them unconditionally.
There are almost 7,500 children and youth in the care of Children's Aid
who may be available for adoption. Last year, 830 children and youth
were connected to their families through adoption, while many others,
over 2,200 children, are on paths to permanency through legal custody,
kinship care and customary care.
Of the 830 children and youth adopted last year, 71% were ages 0-5, 25%
were ages 6-12 and 4% were ages 13 and over. While 61% of the children
and youth available for adoption are age 13 and up, this age group
constituted only 4% of the 830 children and youth adopted last year.
Older children and youth may have experienced challenges, but they too
need families to care for them and help them transition successfully to
adulthood. Every child wants a family, including sibling groups and
children with disabilities. All of these children and youth have one
thing in common - the need for a safe and loving home for a lifetime.
Lexi adopted her daughter, Aleisha, when she was 11 years old. "We
always knew that we would be able to fall in love with an older child…"
Lexi said. "I believe when parenting an adopted older child a family
goes through a lot of the same stages as having a baby - but it is
happening with someone who is able to tell you how they are feeling.
And you don't have to do it alone. We have always taken advantage of
all the community supports and got connected with the services around
us. In the end, you get it all back plus more. We are a family and as
Aleisha likes to say, "through it all we stuck it out together like
peanut butter and jam".
All children and youth, including older youth, sibling groups and
children or youth with disabilities deserve the lifelong connection
that family brings. Adoptive parents can be individuals or couples,
people unable to have children of their own, parents who already have
children and want to add to their growing family, as well as adults
whose first choice for building their family is through adoption.
People from diverse cultural backgrounds, single people or same-sex
couples are encouraged to consider adoption.
Melanie grew her family through adopting a pair of siblings. "We chose
to adopt, to keep siblings together and create our family a different
way. Our pregnancy was a CAS adventure and the only stretch marks we
had grew on our hearts. We went from a quiet couple to a family of four
overnight and we have never looked back".
Children need to feel a sense of belonging, with a permanent family that
will love and nurture them always. Adoption is an option: Help children
and youth create lifelong connections. Visit www.useyourvoice.ca to find your local Children's Aid and more information on adopting
through Ontario's public system.
About the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies: Since 1912, OACAS has represented Ontario's Children's Aid Societies in
Ontario and provided service in the areas of government relations,
communications, information management, education and training to
advocate for the protection and well-being of children.
SOURCE: Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
For further information:
Tanzeem Parkar, Communications Advisor
(416) 987-9854 or email@example.com