Adoption is a journey filled with many emotions, both high and low for everyone involved. It certainly leads to one chapter closing and another one opening for the children we serve and the families who are called to serve our children. There is a lot of beauty and many precious moments in seeing a child in their forever home, and at Buckner we get the pleasure of seeing many adoptions each year, which fills our hearts and allows us to see the impact of the work we do as a collective group. Over this year, we had more than 47 adoptions in West Texas as well as several more on National Adoption Day this month.
The reality is that adoption is multifaceted. With each adoption we see, there are grieving parents who did not have the education or resources to appropriately care for their child/children or maybe even struggle with an addiction that didn’t allow for reunification. As Christians we can’t help but grieve with them and pray that God will continue to heal them in their journey.
In West Texas, there are currently over 450 children who are awaiting adoption. With each day that passes, these children are losing hope they will find their forever family. They desperately need homes with people who are willing to make important and lasting connections with them. Many of the children awaiting adoption are part of a sibling group. Often, their siblings are all that remain of their difficult pasts, all they have left. In the past year, Buckner staff and foster parents in West Texas have embraced the goal of finding permanency for children. This means permanency through adoption, through ministering to biological families to ensure children can go back home, and through working with children until they find their forever home. This philosophy holds the true meaning of keeping our children’s interest at heart.
We have seen many families this year take on the call of adopting older children and sibling groups to ensure connections are made and those precious connections with siblings remain in place. In West Texas, 51 percent of adoptions completed this year were with children and their siblings in the same home. This is significant because it shows that families are willing to take on more to ensure those vital sibling connections are saved. It shows us that they see the importance in keeping children together. There have been multiple families who intended on adopting one, but said ‘yes’ to a sibling group, a great example of the selflessness of those who are called to serve with Buckner. In one case, we were able to see an adoption of a 17-year-old, which ensured he had a place to call home when he came back from college.
The most humbling experience with adoption for me this year was one in which we saw a sibling group of two who had been in foster care for six years be adopted by a family the Lord led our way. We saw the Lord’s work throughout the process and the resilience of a case worker who advocated for the children in her care. She made it personal, which is much needed in this field.
As we reflect on the importance of adoption this National Adoption Month, let’s take time to celebrate the victories, but bear in mind we must continue to move forward in our mission to ensure all children get the permanency they deserve. We need families who are willing to open their homes and their hearts to those children in need. I once heard an adopted youth say, “I found peace when my foster family gave me a key to their home and asked if I wanted to be adopted.” Be the one to make a difference in the over 6,000 children in Texas who need you now more than ever.
Writen by Cristian Garcia, Buckner director of foster care and adoption in Lubbock, Texas.