Think back to when you graduated high school. The world was your oyster, and your future stretched out before you like a canvas. Maybe you went to college, maybe you decided to take over the family business, or perhaps you took a year and traveled the world. Whatever you decided, you probably had two key people behind you, cheering you on and offering you advice, support, and most importantly, unconditional love. In 2012, 23,439 children aged out of the US foster system and met the world unarmed, unprepared, and alone.
These children have all the same dreams and hopes you had, but without the presence of a family, the odds of them ever achieving these goals are startlingly low. Instead, they are twice as likely as Iraqi war veterans to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and by the time they reach the age of twenty-five, 81% of male foster care alumni will be arrested. Twenty-two percent of these children will find themselves homeless for more than a day, and only 54% of them will receive their high school diploma.
Although the foster care system seeks to protect children from danger, abuse, and poverty, the sheer stress a child endures in moving from home to home is incredibly overwhelming. The average time a child spends in foster care is approximately two years, and in that period of time, it is likely they will spend time in up to ten different homes. It is close to impossible for a child to be secure in who they are when they are constantly being transferred to a new environment where the rules and expectations are different each time. It is so easy to look at someone who didn’t graduate high school and may be homeless or unemployed and judge them, but without the support and love of your family, where would you be?
We don’t like these statistics. We want to do something. We want to be the voice for children who have dreams, but no one to stand behind them and help them succeed. So how does an adoption agency, and more importantly, how do you get involved in these children’s’ lives? First, pray for these children. They are right in your own backyard, and they need advocates. Second, stay tuned with Open Door. We have a passion for these children, and for the ones who do not have the hope of reunification with their families, we want to help place these children in loving, Christian homes.
Children are our future, so let’s do our part to give them a good one.