02/21/05 — Campaigns for Kids helps find families for older children

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Campaigns for Kids helps find families for older children

By Linda Luck
Published in News on February 21, 2005 2:02 PM

"Love is like the tide; it always returns," Amanda reads from a spiral notebook filled with her poems and one-liners.

The pretty teenager is at St. Paul United Methodist Church on Friday to be interviewed and photographed by a team from Campaigns for Kids, or CFK.

CFK is a non-profit organization, based in Asheville, which has signed a contract with the Wayne County Department of Social Services to find permanent homes for Amanda and 10 boys, ranging in age from 5 to 16.

Wayne joins 20 counties in the state that have used CFK to find homes for older children who have been cleared for adoption.

"By interviewing and photographing the children, we give them a voice to tell their story." said Tina Peterson, who works with CFK. "We will develop child-specific flyers from the photographs and stories."

The Department of Social Services will use the brochures to introduce the children to prospective families across the country.

James, who is almost 16, says he agreed to come "because everybody deserves a second chance."

He said he hopes to find a family who will love and respect him.

His words confirm Rebecca Rouse's observation that, "Older children need someone to be there for them. They need a secure environment in which they feel safe, loved and accepted."

The adoption process is a slow one. For the older children, the sooner it gets started, the better.

Ms. Rouse, who is an adoption supervisor with the Department of Social Services, believes that Campaigns for Kids is an "excellent resource to assist in promoting permanence for our children."

She says families do not have to be rich or perfect in order to adopt a child. However, state law demands that certain criteria be met and that a background check be conducted.

Once the adoption process is under way, training and support is provided through the Foster Parent Association and the Foster to Adopt Support Group.

These children have not had easy lives, said Ms. Rouse, and some of them have emotional and psychological problems. She said the adoption staff makes every effort to place them in homes where they will not have more hardships.

Amanda says she hopes to find someone like a woman who took care of her when she was a little girl, before life got difficult and confusing.

Then she reads from another poem, "I'm the depths of darkness and hollow eyes. I'm the question will I live or die?"

Keith, a 14-year-old with freckles and a cowlick, said he wants a family who will understand how much he still loves his biological family, "I love my mother very much," he says, glancing at Amanda, as if reminded of her words, "Love is like the tide; it always returns."