Spread the love.
That’s the challenge following the tremendous outpouring of support and concern for five Kansas brothers and sisters seeking to be adopted.
The endearing portrait of Bradley, 11; Preston 10; Layla, 8; Landon, 6; and 2-year-old Olive who loves to be cuddled went viral after appearing in The Star, with those sweet, smiling faces drawing national attention. The siblings’ search for a family spurred a deluge of good-hearted inquiries about Bradley, who loves music, and his sisters and brothers. Their story also should remind us that thousands of kids are in need of loving, stable homes.
People have inundated state officials with requests for information about the five siblings. It’s a good problem to have, especially if those offering help would consider opening their homes to other children. Much of the interest in Bradley, Preston, Layla, Landon and Olive came from out of state and even from around the world. But these children need to find an adoptive home in Kansas.
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The need for foster homes in the state is tremendous. The five brothers and sisters are among 6,846 children in Kansas foster care, according to the Kansas Department for Children and Families in a January report. Those numbers have skyrocketed in recent years, but the number of foster homes has not kept pace. In December 2010, there were 5,148 children and youth in the state’s custody.
Advocates say an increase in parents with opioid drug addictions has contributed to the growing need, but many families have several complicating factors that might lead state social workers to intervene.
Kansas needs caring families and individuals willing to take these children into their homes, temporarily and, for some, permanently through adoption. So the state and the agencies that it contracts with are undertaking a massive push to find new foster families in the state.
“We are trying to find families for the children, not trying to fill a spot in a family who wants to adopt,” said Julie Lane, of the Olathe-based Kansas Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.
That means the needs of the child always are the priority. State workers and the agencies they work with seek the best match for the children. Twenty-nine loved and lucky children were adopted in Kansas in January. Another 149 kids were reunited with their families. That, too, is a tremendous success.
Reuniting children with parents or other relatives is generally preferred in an effort to stabilize families. But even that process means children often need loving homes while their parents work toward that goal.
“I know that they will find the perfect home for these five children,” Lane said. “Now let’s do that for all of these children.”