Most children in foster care dream of the day when they will finally find a new family and a permanent place to call home. However, the unfortunate reality, say experts, is that this day sometimes never comes for older children or teens, as would-be parents are often looking to adopt either babies or toddlers.
Another unfortunate reality, say experts, is that teens who age out of the foster care system are often at a distinct disadvantage since they are lacking a strong support system. Homelessness, limited education, and a lack of job opportunities are also a reality for many of them post-foster care.
Fortunately, we do have something of a support structure here in Texas for children who age out of the foster care system. In addition to certain monetary allowances and limited transitional living arrangements, these emancipated youths are given the opportunity to attend public colleges in the state for free.
Furthermore, state officials mandate that all soon-to-be emancipated youths must attend a program called Preparation for Adult Living and even offer some the chance to remain in the foster care system until the age of 22.
This is not to say, of course, that older children are never likely to be adopted by loving families. In fact, consider a truly heartwarming story out of Hidalgo County, where a Texas teen was adopted after more than a decade of waiting.
17-year-old Anthony originally entered foster care when he was only seven years old after his mother died and his father’s parental rights were terminated by a state court.
After ten years of living in the foster care system, he met a loving couple in their early 60s at an adoption picnic this past November and the three clicked instantly. Flash forward to a courtroom in the 93 state District Court just a few weeks ago, where a judge finalized Anthony’s adoption only weeks before his 18th birthday.
“Every other word is ‘Mom” and ‘Dad,'” he said later. “I love them. What’s the best way to show gratitude than to call them my own?”
If you would like to learn more about adoption, contact a skilled legal professional who can guide you through the entire process and help you complete your family.
Source: WFAA, “South Texas youth adopted after decade of waiting,” Jacqueline Armendariz, April 22, 2013