EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - November is national adoption month. It's a month set aside to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care.
This year's theme is "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent."
All month long we will share with you stories of adoption and those who support the adoption process.
In East Texas, there are currently 71 children who are African-American or Hispanic waiting to be adopted.
Children like Romelo who you've seen featured before in our Gift of Love segments. They make up 40 percent of those looking for a forever family right here in East Texas.
It's called disproportionality, which is the over representation of a particular race or cultural group in a particular program or system.
"In this case, Texas Child Welfare has disproportionality for African-American children in every region in Texas," said Shelia Craig, the State Disproportionality Manager.
There was a town hall recently held in Tyler to talk about this issue with the community. Those in the faith based community, the school district, NAACP, civil rights, juvenile probation and concerned citizens. Also in attendance was Maud Wright, a foster parent for 33 years and is working to help get more children out of foster care and into an adopted family.
"Fids need stability, they need a good environment, they need to know that they are loved, [and] they need to know that they have a warm bed to go to at night," said Wright. "They need to know that in case something happened at school they can call their granny or mom to come see about me. They need to feel that they are wanted and important."
And, children like 15-year-old Chris face bigger obstacles. In Texas, African-American children are:
1. More likely to be removed from their homes compared to anglo children. 2. Fewer are successfully reunited with their families 3. Tend to wait longer for adoption and are more likely to age out of the foster care system at age 18.
They are all children who want and need to find their forever family that can show them the gift of love.
The Department of Family and Protective Services is working to raise awareness and sensitivity to this issue by creating community advisory committees in the East Texas area.
Individuals interested in working within the community to help can contact Roxane May, disproportionality specialist, at (409) 963-4722.
If you'd like more information about East Texas children available for adoption call our Gift of Love hotline, toll-free, 1-888-kids-275.
Monday, September 1 2014 2:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:00:48 GMT
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