November is “National Adoption Month” and one Iowa group that works with foster kids has plans for several events to highlight adoptions. Amy Juhnke of Iowa KidsNet says they plan five adoption Saturdays beginning on this Saturday November 14th. She says judges and court officials donate their time for the adoption Saturdays to get as many adoptions as possible finalized on that day as possible, and they will hold the days in Ames, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines and Sioux City.
Juhnke says the time it takes to adopt a child varies, depending and the individual circumstances of each child. Juhnke says it can take from three to six months for the entire process, which starts by people contacting them via phone at 800-243-0756, or by visiting the website, IowaKidsNet.com. She says they will give you some general information and will invite you to an informal information session that lasts an hour to an hour and a half. She says that session gives you more of an idea of what it takes to adopt a foster child.
Juhnke says if you decide to move ahead, then they start the actual licensing process that involves a home study of your home and then 10 weeks of training on parental skills and detailed information on what the kids and families are going through. Juhnke says takes time and effort — but it pays off in the things you get back from the experience.
She says any of the adoptive families will tell you it is tough, and no one will say it is an easy thing. But she says it is like anything, after you get through it all, you look at what has been achieved and the rewards and forget any of the negatives. Juhnke says some people might not be interested because they’ve heard that foster kids are a problem.
Juhnke says that is “such a myth” as the kids had to be taken out of their homes because it was not a safe environment, and the foster parents provide that safe nurturing environment so the kids can succeed. She says they are all just kids and need the opportunity to succeed that they didn’t have before. Juhnke says while they deal with foster kids and adoptions, the month is dedicated to all adoptions and she says it’s important to highlight the things that adoption provides for all types of kid.
Julie Schroeder of Radcliffe is an adoptive mom and a support specialist with Iowa KidsNet. Schroeder says the original event has been moved from Webster City to Ames because the Ames City Hall has two courtrooms. “We’ve outgrown Webster City in some ways because of the space,” Schroeder says. “We have so many people who have now heard about Adoption Saturday that we have some families that wait an extra month or two so they can do Adoption Saturday just because it’s a fun day and it’s a really special day for all the families.”
The Iowa Department of Human Services says there are about 165 children in Iowa who are waiting for adoptive homes.
Contributed by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City