Changing & Impacting Lives Through Foster Care
November was National Adoption Month, but there is no better time than now for children in need to find homes. 15,341 children in Ohio currently reside in Foster Homes / Out-of-Home Placement Settings. With over 15,000 kids in the child welfare system, there are only 7,200 foster families to take care of them. Children are placed into foster care for a multitude of reasons, but it comes down to one common thread; if the safety or well being of children is at stake, it may be necessary to remove them from their homes. Foster parents are needed to care for children until it is determined that it is safe for them to return home, or if they need to be placed with adoptive parents or legal guardians. Ideally, kids are placed with other family members, but this is not feasible in many instances.
With the rapid increase of drug epidemics, Ohio’s state attorney general, Mike DeWine says it is estimated that about 50 percent of kids in foster care are there because one or both parents are drug users. In 2015, a survey by PCSAO found that 28 percent of children removed from their homes had parents who used opioids including heroin, prescription opiates, and fentanyl.
A Story of a Foster Child Finding Her Forever Home
Taking in a child or children who need your help can be one of the most rewarding acts you do in your entire life. Jim and Donna Murphy discovered this when they decided to become foster parents 8 years ago.
Having 7 other children before deciding to foster, it was not a quick or easy decision for Jim and Donna to begin fostering. When asked why they decided to become foster parents, Donna was quick to respond that it seemed like a consistent life ethic and that she always believed in taking care of those in need. Jim added, “if you want to change the world, it’s one little thing at a time. Start with one life.”
Jim and Donna fostered a total of 2 kids. Emmy, who was only 2 days old when put into their care, and a little boy who was 3 months old when they got him. The little boy was placed in foster care due to a dangerous male in the house, but was only with the Murphy’s for 2 weeks. Emmy was placed in foster care because her biological mother struggled with a drug addiction and had other mental health diagnoses, which endangered the safety of her child. Emmy was born with addiction and underwent withdrawals for 4-6 weeks. Symptoms of her withdrawals included constant crying due to migraines, nausea, body aches, etc. These were all symptoms that, as foster parents, they dealt with and cared for.
Transitioning From Foster Care to Adoption
After being in foster care for a year, Emmy was set to return to her biological mother until she decided that Emmy was better off with Jim and Donna and the rest of their family. At that point, Jim and Donna were asked to consider adoption. Jim explained that there was no question about it, he knew they were going to adopt because this was the only family she knew and they all loved her. Donna, on the other hand, struggled a little more with the decision, but knows now that she wouldn’t have it any other way and says, “Emmy is worth it 1000x over.”
Although there are hardships that come along with fostering, the benefits are sure to outweigh them. When asked what the most rewarding part about being a foster parent is, Jim explained that it’s introducing a kid to a normal family environment when they otherwise would not have that. Every child deserves to have a stable living environment, and foster care helps give children the hope and guidance they need.
Make an Impact on a Child’s Life
Whether you are ready to be a foster/adoptive parent or not, there is always a way you can impacts a child’s life.
To learn more about how to become a foster or adoptive parent, or to make a donation to impact a foster child, click the corresponding buttons below.
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