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Rob Siedlecki: Adopting Kansas child can be extraordinary

  • Published Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, at 12:09 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, at 6:38 a.m.

At this moment, there are about 420 Kansas children in temporary foster homes, waiting to be welcomed into loving, permanent families.

Some of those kids come from rough backgrounds. Many of them are older, making adoption less likely. Some have special medical or emotional conditions. Some are a part of a sibling group that would like to stay together. The range of challenges is diverse.

But the fundamental needs of these children are all the same. They want a warm, nurturing and stable family in which they can grow and learn. They need someone to teach them about the world. They crave unconditional love.

Gov. Sam Brownback has proclaimed November as Adoption Month in the state of Kansas. At the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, we work hard year-round to place foster kids in loving homes. But this month is special. This month is dedicated to spreading the word about the benefits of adoption.

There is something extraordinary about choosing to adopt a Kansas child. It's the ultimate expression of neighborly support.

If you decide to adopt a Kansas kid, the process is free. We'll send you to training to help you decide if it's right for your family. We will provide you with support. Depending on the age of the adopted children and their needs, monthly financial subsidies are available.

But it's not a decision to take lightly. Talk to your friends, family and neighbors. Think about the ways adoption will change your life. Pray about it if you come from a faith background.

If you decide to go forward adopting a Kansas kid, be patient. The process doesn't move quickly. But the kids are worth the wait, and you get time to prepare for them to join your family.

Don't let your own personal circumstances hold you back. Kansas kids can be adopted by married, single, divorced or widowed parents. Adoptive parents don't have to be wealthy — in fact, most aren't. You can bring your child home to wherever you may live — house, apartment or mobile home — as long as it's a safe environment and there is enough room for your family.

No two adoptive families are alike, but many of them share similar experiences. We've repeatedly heard about the profound joy of watching children grow and thrive. We've heard our adoptive parents say they — not their children — are the true beneficiaries of adoption.

November is going to be a busy month as we celebrate adoption and work to increase awareness of the needs and the benefits of going through this life-changing process. Will you examine your life and consider the possibility of adding a Kansas kid to your family? Your child could be waiting for you to make that decision right now.

Please visit www.adoptKSkids.org for more information.

Rob Siedlecki is secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services in Topeka.

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