Light of hope: Addressing the foster care system through local adoption day

Siblings+Delaney%2C+Hayden%2C+Kaitlyn%2C+Brady+and+Griffynn+Evans+pictured+together+at+a+park+in+Des+Moines%2C+Iowa.+

Delaney Evans

Siblings Delaney, Hayden, Kaitlyn, Brady and Griffynn Evans pictured together at a park in Des Moines, Iowa.

By Caitlin Crome, Pleasant Valley High School

On any given day, almost half a million American children are in foster care hoping for the day they will see a brighter future and the local Scott County District Court is working to ensure every kid will find a loving home.

The month of November is known as National Adoption Month and aims to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for children in foster care. The number of children in foster care is continuing to rise totaling more than 690,000 across the nation in 2017. 

An organization called the United States Children’s Bureau was put in place to focus on improving the lives of children and families. Through programs, they have reduced child abuse and neglect, increased the number of adoptions, and strengthened foster care. 

Their 2019 National Adoption Month message is to focus on the thousands of teenagers in foster care who still need a loving, permanent family and a place to call home. While this is a problem all over the country, it is also very relevant locally. 

Many students from the Pleasant Valley community are no strangers to the idea of adoption. One of those students is senior Delaney Evans.

“My family decided once my mom couldn’t have kids anymore we wanted two younger brothers,” said Evans. Her family adopted two infant boys through an agency called Hope International

Adopting a child is often a long and complicated process. But after Evans and her family were approved and first met her little brothers, she knew they were a perfect fit to the family. “We didn’t treat them any differently. They were part of our family and we were just so excited,” she said. 

One of the most common methods of adoption is international. Evan’s siblings were adopted from different cities in South Korea. But strict laws have made international adoption both difficult and expensive.

According to a 2015 article in The Economist, two million orphans from South Korea–or about 85 percent–have grown up in South Korean orphanages without being adopted in the past 60 years.

Similar statistics can even be found here in the United States. 

Another student, sophomore Malia Pavey, was adopted from China around the age of 1. And even though she was adopted at such a young age, life can still be difficult. “I feel like I am not truly part of the family, and I always feel a loneliness no matter the situation,” said Pavey. 

As an adopted child, Pavey said she also feels there are some things all parents should remember when deciding to adopt. “Be ready for lots of questions and make sure you show lots of love and understanding,” she said. “Adopted kids need constant reassurance.”

In the Quad Cities, Nov. 2 is known annually as Adoption Day. According to KWQC, one of the largest groups of kids in Scott County’s history were adopted this year. With the 14 children adopted this November, the total rose to 93 adoptions for 2019. With such numbers, Scott County is on track to surpass last year’s adoption numbers.

Seventh District Court Judge Mark Fowler explained the challenges involved with the foster care system. “There are a lot of kids in foster care here that are waiting for their foster families,” he said. “And we’re also in need of foster families. To take on the hard, and really difficult job, but rewarding job of being foster parents.”

With the efforts of the local Scott County District Court, many young people’s lives are changing…and that change can even be seen in the school’s backyard. 

This story was originally published on Spartan Shield on November 11, 2019.