Tuesday, October 23, 2012

{31 Days} Steps Towards Adoption

When I need a feel good laugh, one of my turn to movies has been My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Nia Vardalos is simply hilarious and I've often found it a wonderful escape to enter her crazy world. I love to watch her blossom from gawky and insecure into outgoing and self-confident while the families of her and her boyfriend, Ian collide all around them in awkward absurdity.

Nia Vardalos has now earned a whole new ranking on my list of favorite celebrities (I'm sure she follows what I think, right?) as I recently discovered that she adopted through the US Foster Care System and served as a spokesperson for National Adoption Day. My heart burns for foster children and for them to find love within a permanent family, and like Nia, I have constantly run into road blocks (mainly due to lack of information), if only there were resources, publicity, awareness; if only some celebrities would speak up ... And she did. :)

Photo from People Magazine.   Nia Vardalos’s Blog:
Savoring the Last Moments of Summer

 Nia has told her story to several different news sources on a quest to debunk the myths. Thank you Nia, you are my hero! :D The basic summary: after a long 10 years of struggling with infertility she and her husband looked into domestic and international adoption, newborn adoptions fell through a couple times and then she discovered the children waiting within our nations foster care system. She states that there 129,000 legally free for adoption today. They found a local foster family agency where they were walked through the process by a couple social workers (her "super pretty angels"). Nine months after starting that process, her three year old daughter walked through her door for the first time. She describes the first time seeing her daughter as having the immediate sensation, "oh, I found you!" She even wrote a book about her experience, and I simply cannot wait to get my hands on it, Instant Mom: I Thought I knew Love, and Then I Met My Daughter.  She has such a beautiful story, and I am so grateful that she and her husband chose to speak up about their journey in an effort to raise awareness. I hope that this will open the doorway to many more beautiful stories, just like hers.

So, how does one get to those 129,000 waiting children?

1. Find a local agency that offers adoption (Nia recommends a Foster Family Agency)
** Go to http://www.childwelfare.gov/nfcad/ or AdoptUSKids, State Adoption and Foster Care Information to begin.

2. Decide what type of child (age, gender, physical and mental abilities) you are physically and emotionally able to care for.

3. Work with your social worker who will look locally and nationally to help guide you to the child(ren) that are a great match and then walk with you through the paperwork process of making everything legal (homestudy, fingerprints, etc.).
 ** You can also look at sites like The California Kids'Connection  or The National Heart Gallery  which can then direct you toward a Heart Gallery that is local to you. These sites allow you to "meet" waiting kids and read a little bit about them.

4. Wait. Pray. Prepare your heart and home to be a parent! :D

~Tristen :)

Tomorrow: Even Superman Had Foster Parents!

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