Family

Will famous ‘Family Wanted’ five seeking Kansas home help other kids get adopted?

Overwhelming national interest in five Kansas siblings seeking adoption is drawing prospective parents to other children needing homes, a state official said Tuesday.

“It’s definitely started the conversation” about adopting — even among people with slim or no chance of taking in the five siblings made famous by a recent “Family Wanted” appeal in The Star, said Theresa Freed, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Freed said several interested households already have been identified as good fits for siblings Olive, Landon, Layla, Preston and Bradley, who are ages 2 to 11. Some families may enjoy a head start, having completed the 10-week training course for adoptive parents in Kansas, she said.

While Freed encouraged prospective parents to keep inquiring about the siblings if their interest is serious, their finances are up to it and their residences are large enough, she noted that the staff at AdoptKSKids.org — an online adoptive exchange — this week began steering hundreds of users to think of other needy children to love.

“They may not be children receiving as much attention as these five, but they are in just as much need of good homes,” Freed said.

As The Star’s “Family Wanted” online feature drew more than 4 million readers by Monday afternoon, thousands of inquiries about the siblings so clogged AdoptKSKids.org, the Kansas Children’s Services League removed the children’s profiles to catch up with requests for information. The children’s services league contracts with the state to run the site.

Adoption officials and caseworkers hope to keep the siblings together in Kansas. Many prospective parents inquiring this week live in other states, and some of those going online are being directed to a national exchange, AdoptUSKids.org.

“We’ll stay in touch with Kansas to see what we can do with these overwhelming numbers — causing what I call ‘good stress,’ ” said John Levesque, deputy project director at the Maryland-based website. “Now how many of those people are willing to move forward ... to maybe become a full-time foster or adoptive family in their communities?”

Responding to the famous five siblings, “people all over the country weren’t just thinking about adopting those kids but, wow, they were making calls. Something stirred them to call.”

In a nation of 112,000 children looking for permanent homes, Levesque said, one call is a start.

Rick Montgomery: 816-234-4410, @rmontgomery_r

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