The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024
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Children in need of parents

This holiday season most Texans will invite over the grandparents, take the annual family photo and enjoy the blessing of a shared meal with family and friends. As we make plans to spend time with our loved ones, please stop and consider the many Texas children in foster care who do not have a family. For them, this season of thanksgiving often reminds each girl and boy of what they are missing. As we observe national Adoption Awareness Month, we need to remember that many Texas children, especially the older ones, still need a home.

Consider Jonathan. He is the last of five siblings to remain in the foster care system. Placed in state care as an infant, he remains hopeful at age 15 that the right family is out there for him. He loves soccer and Chinese food, but like most children, he wants to belong. He wants a family.

Vanessa, Jonathan’s caseworker at the Heart Gallery of Central Texas, will tell you that children in foster care are resilient, but they spend too long in a system that should be temporary.

Children without parents are the most vulnerable. While we may picture an infant when we think about adoption, there is a large population of older children who need a permanent home as well. They are the ones least likely to be adopted and who, without a family, have it the toughest. Statistics show that half the children who never connect with an adoptive family before “aging out” of the foster care system at 18 will end up homeless or in prison. This is a problem state government alone cannot fix. We need the help of people who are open to becoming mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, advocates or good role models.

Child Protective Services (CPS) recently launched a “Why Not Me?” campaign to remind the public that children never outgrow their need for parents. Older children in foster care still need the love and guidance only a family can provide. Of the 4,000-plus children in Texas awaiting adoption, more than a third are older than age nine.

We need more public-private partnerships to help broadcast the stories of each unique child. Fortunately, there are volunteer organizations like The Heart Gallery, which help put a face to Texas children in foster care. Professional photographers volunteer their time to take portraits of these children to exhibit in community gathering places like art galleries, churches, libraries, banks and on the Internet to attract potential parents. This national organization partners with the state to serve 11 different regions in Texas.

I am thankful to the many churches that also partner with adoption groups to find parents for these children. We need more of them. These partnerships amplify the voices of the children asking why they lack a family of their own. If their voices spread far enough, I am confident the right people, maybe your neighbor, maybe an old friend, will answer by saying they want to bring a child home.

And, most of all, we need more parents.

Adoption is a special calling, and parents can come from anywhere. Take State Senator Steve Ogden and his wife, Beverly, who welcomed a nine-year-old boy into their family after working in the Texas Legislature to reform CPS in 2005.

If you take a moment to scan the pictures displayed on the regional Heart Gallery Web sites, or the pictures displayed on the CPS Web site, you may be moved, hopefully the way the senator and his wife were. The pictures are a reminder that, in a whirling debate of policy and statistics, these numbers still represent human beings, loaded with potential, ready for a chance and needing love. It is no small thing for a family to adopt a child who remains in the system, but the chance to share the gifts we have been given can literally save a life.

Children are a blessing. And loving a child in the Texas foster care system may be as simple as volunteering, sharing a child’s story with friends or praying for a specific child. There are ways each of us can get involved.

So, during this holiday season, I hope you’ll ask yourself the question, “Why Not Me?”

About the author:

Rick Perry is the current Governor of Texas.

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