“By choice, we have become a family, first in our hearts, and finally in breath and being. Great expectations are good; great experiences are better.” -Richard Fischer, Adoptive parent
Each November child welfare organizations sponsor National Adoption awareness activities across the country. This is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the children in foster care who are waiting for families, who are waiting for forever homes. Since 1987, the number of children in foster care nationally has doubled, and the average time a child remains in foster care has lengthened to nearly five years. Each year, more than 26,000 children in foster care will age out of the system without ever being placed with a permanent family!
You may have considered at one time or another adopting a child. For whatever reason it did not happen. Some people believe the process takes years and/or is very expensive. Adopting a child from foster care does not have to be either. Of course there are screening requirements and training that interested persons must go through; however, the end result is worth all the effort.
Locally, in the Greater New Orleans region, there are currently 68 children in foster care who are available for adoption. These children have been removed from their homes as a result of abuse and/or neglect and their parents have not made the necessary changes in the lives to allow for their children to return home. Therefore, the children have been freed for adoption but an adoptive resource has not yet been identified. The Greater New Orleans CASA Programs (Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines), the Department of Child and Family Services, Volunteers of America, Crossroads NOLA, and NOLA Hope are planning a week of events to bring adoption awareness to the forefront of our community. We believe that there are families in our community who can and will answer the call. It is our job to find those families!
Our children are resilient and full of life. The one thing missing is a family to call their own. If you are interested in learning more about the adoption process, please contact the Department of Children and Family Services at (504)361-6161.
Cynthia Chauvin is the Director of the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program of Jefferson Parish. She has led the organization since 2008, and her experience with CASA spans over a ten year time period. Under her leadership the program has significantly increased the number of children served by CASA Advocates. In 2012, 175 CASA Advocates provided meaningful advocacy to 363 children. Also in 2012, CASA Jefferson was awarded the Diversity Leadership Award by the Louisiana CASA Association and that same year Cynthia was recognized by Louisiana CASA as the Executive Director of Year. Cynthia is married to William Chauvin and they have two children, Whitney (16) and Wyatt (14). For more information on becoming a CASA volunteer, making a donation, and/or supporting our events please visit our website at www.casajefferson.com.