USA (MNN) – Bethany Christian Services’ foster-to-adopt program is helping to create loving Christian homes for kids temporarily and permanently.
Foster Care and Adoption
“We work with children of all ages when children first come into foster care. The goal is reunification and getting kids back home with mom or dad in a safe place,” shares Bethany’s Lisa Cizek, a Foster Care Adoption Supervisor for Bethany in Grand Rapids and Traverse City.
Some reasons kids must go into foster or adoptive care are because parents don’t have the financial means, they lack housing resources, or they could be dealing with a mental illness which creates an unsafe relationship and environment for the child.
Every child’s case is different, which means barriers to reuniting with their families could be larger or smaller than another child’s.
Cizek says some parents are able to rectify barriers quickly, but some are not, forcing children to stay in foster care for months.
Since Bethany’s goal is to reunite families and kids, they help provide “support and services to birth parents to make sure it’s safe for the kids to return and that process would involve the agency making recommendations and then, also, the court weighing in on whether or not the children are able to go home.”
However, if a home proves to be permanently unsafe and unstable, kids will be put up for adoption.
“When a child is not able to go home, that’s when they become involved with my program,” Cizek says.
“We look to find an adoptive family. Many of our kids are adopted, thankfully, by relatives or by foster parents that already have them. However, we do have some kids that are waiting to be matched and we have families that come in the door, wanting to be assessed for adoption and potentially matched with our kids.”
Safe Homes for Kids
Cizek shares different types of families come to Bethany, hoping to help children. Some families want to take care of children for a temporal amount of time, and some only want to take care of children up for adoption.
With both foster and adoptive situations, Bethany strives to offer safe, loving Christian homes for kids by assessing prospective foster and/or adoptive families and seeing what their living situations are like.
To start the process, Bethany invites families to orientations and shares information about foster and adoptive care.
“We ask that families first come to an orientation at our agency. We have the greatest need for families to adopt school-aged children, children with high needs, [and] sibling groups,” Cizek shares.
“They can learn more about the characteristics of the kids we work with at orientation. There is training that families are able to go through to be prepared to be a foster and adoptive parent and the process from there includes interviews and home visits by a worker, and then a home study is written to have a family approved.”
This month is National Foster Care Month. Are you interested in foster care or adoption?
The Adoption Network says on a yearly basis, more than 428,000 children in the United States are in foster care and 135,000 are adopted.