We talk so often about the need for adoptive families. Let’s talk for a moment about what happens when children don’t get adopted. As children get older and older, their chance of being adopted becomes less and less. Yet the need is just crucial. What is the result of a child aging out of “the system.” In the United States the age at which that happens is 18. In some other countries it is officially 16. Yet there are many places around the world where there are more children who need families than the facilities in their area can care for. And so, the older children are sent out to make room for more young ones. These unofficial “aging out” situations send children younger than 16 out into the streets to fend for themselves.
Try for a moment to visualize what it would be like for a child who has just aged out of foster care here in the United States. That child has no one: no family to go to for advice or counsel, no family with whom to celebrate things, no family with whom to grieve over things, no support system to fall back on, no one to spend holidays with, no one to do all the things that families do.
What outlook do these children have when they age out? Well, nearly 40% will be homeless at some point, 60% will be convicted of a crime, 50% will become involved in substance abuse, and 54% will end up on welfare. These are statistics, but behind these statistics are real people who grew up without a family.
You can make a difference. Consider adopting a child. Or make a difference by reaching out to support and encourage families that are adopting.