November marks the start of National Adoption Month, a month that recognizes families, agencies and kids in need of foster care and adoption.
The need nation-wide is great - the need for more resources, foster parents, homes, and stable environments that remove children from the system and place them in forever homes where they can thrive.
G.A. Family Services has been serving kids in need since 1883. Although their Foster Care Services started nine years ago, since then, they have helped 100 kids find forever homes through adoption.
“The need is there,” Rebecca Wedgewood says. As a Family Resource Counselor, Wedgewood and her team work to find kids the care they need - a process that is both serious and thorough.
In Erie County alone, 888 kids are in foster care and more than 400,000 are in care nationwide.
“We understand foster care by definition is temporary. But our goal for each and every child that comes to us is to find them a permanent home, a permanent family and permanent situation,” Wedgewood emphasized.
Lynne and Bill Conrad are a couple that understands the process and the need very well.
“Our journey started 17 years ago when we weren’t sure we would be able to have a baby of our own. We started the foster care/adoption process and found out we were pregnant and from there our family just continued to grow,” Lynne said.
The Conrads are proud parents to 10 children - 3 biological, 4 adopted and 3 pre-adoptive foster kids, all ranging in age and background.
“It’s loud, crazy and there’s never a dull moment, but we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Bill shared.
November is about raising awareness not only about families like the Conrads, but about awareness of the dire need. The need here at home and throughout the United States to provide kids respite and love - be it temporary or permanent.
It’s about raising awareness about the collective effort and supportive services that agencies, like G.A. offer, not only working with foster care family applicants, but with children and biological families as well.
For more on how you can become a parent or apply as a foster family, visit the G.A. Family Services website or stop by any one of their three locations in: West Seneca, Holland or Jamestown.