Survey Shows More Families Consider “Building” Through Adoption

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In Florida, prospective foster parents work with local community organizations to complete the licensing process to become a foster parent. Photo credit ShutterStock.com, licensed.
A survey commissioned this year by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption focused on Americans’ attitudes toward adoption, and found 37% of adults have at least considered adopting children, a 17% increase from five years ago. File photo: Africa Studio, Shutter Stock, licensed.

Tallahassee, Fl November is National Adoption Month, a chance to raise awareness about Florida kids waiting to be adopted into a “forever” home and family. A survey commissioned this year by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption focused on Americans’ attitudes toward adoption, and found 37% of adults have at least considered adopting children, a 17% increase from five years ago.

Stefanie Thompson, an adoptive parent, got married about six years ago. She is 52 and said being a little older and without biological children, she and her husband decided to move beyond thinking about it, by adopting older kids.

“Having been a middle school teacher, I just knew that there was a calling for us to adopt kids that were teenagers,” Thompson explained. “And so we did. We ended up adopting two boys, and we love them dearly. They’re doing great.”

Some 67% of adults surveyed believe “every child is adoptable,” and 75% said more should be done to encourage adoptions of children out of foster care. The number of children in Florida’s foster-care system is roughly 24,000. In 2020, about one-third could be adopted, which is more than 9,000 children who need families.

Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation, said while she is pleased to see more people becoming more receptive to adoption, more work needs to be done. Their data show the average age of a child in foster care waiting to be adopted is about nine. Yet the survey found about 60% of people preferred to adopt a child age five or younger, and only 3% said they would consider adopting a teen.

“A child goes into care, they tend to linger in care, and the older they get, the less likely that Americans are to think about adopting them,” Soronen observed. “Our job is to continue to increase the awareness about the age of children waiting and the viability; that every child deserves a family.”

The survey also showed 90% of adults believe more should be done to support older kids who “age out” of the foster care system, but nearly half said there are more pressing societal matters. Florida has a website promoting the benefits of adoption, complete with resources and profiles of children to help families find their perfect match, at adoptflorida.org.

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