Weekly Columns

Giving Thanks for Family

Senator John Boozman's Column for the Week of November 14, 2011

Nov 14 2011

As we’re gathered to give thanks for our families and the good things in life this Thanksgiving it’s important to remember those people who aren’t as fortunate. For children in foster care, celebrating this holiday surrounded by loved ones is just a dream, but it’s one we can help make a reality.

Every day, approximately 700 children enter the national foster care system because of abuse or neglect; 3,485 children enter into the system per week. Approximately 87,000 children remain in the system for more than three years, with nearly 28,000 young adults “aging out” of the system without ever having the security of a permanent home. An estimated 3,500 children are currently in the Arkansas foster care system.

To raise awareness of this issue, Congress passed a resolution recognizing November as National Adoption Month and November 19th as National Adoption Day. I am proud to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues in introducing this resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Adoption Month and encouraging families to open their hearts and homes to children in the community in need of a safe, loving, permanent home.

National Adoption Day has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of children. Since its creation in 2000, more than 35,000 adoptions have been finalized and celebrated on this day. Last year alone 4,800 children were adopted and this year events in all 50 states celebrated the adoptions of nearly 5,000 children and those families who open their hearts and homes, providing a chance at a promising future.

Few things in life are more important than working to ensure that all children grow up in safe, healthy homes. Research continues to show that children supported by a family unit experience more stability throughout their lives. Children in foster care are some of the most vulnerable members of our society and we must do everything in our power to make sure they have the necessary tools to live a normal, healthy life.

I am encouraged by the great work being done and excited to be a part of raising awareness on this important issue. We are blessed in Arkansas to have outstanding advocates of adoption and people who are crusaders for children who need a family. Over the past several years Arkansans have been recognized for their efforts by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute which coordinates the Angels in Adoption program. This honors outstanding individuals for their dedication and commitment to providing children with the protection, permanency, safety and love of a family. These are the men and women who are selfless crusaders for children in need of a loving home.

Every child deserves the love and support of a family and I believe that we must work to make that a reality. Families across Arkansas are committed to sharing their love with children who need parents.

This Thanksgiving, let’s recognize the importance families play in our lives and how fortunate we are to have their support. As we give thanks for all that we have been provided this year, we also must remember those who are looking for loving families and explore opportunities we can offer to children in need of a permanent home.