Brownwood joined hundreds of communities throughout the United States this month in observing National Adoption Day, when more than 3,300 adoptions of children from foster care were finalized. Eight of those were from Brown County. The families involved were joined by judges, attorneys, adoption professionals and child advocates for the formal ceremonies followed by lunch and a balloon launch.

Such an event celebrates not only these additions to families, but also helps raise awareness of the overwhelming number of children still waiting for a loving home. According to statistics provided by National Adoption Day sponsors, more than 114,000 children in the foster care system in the United States are legally and permanently separated from their biological parents and are waiting to find their new homes. Every child deserves a home, and the national day reminds us — right here at the start of the holiday season — that they are indeed still waiting. Unless they are connected with adoptive parents, they will lose the opportunity to participate in the simple joys of Thanksgiving and the excitement of Christmas — not to mention the security of a loving family every day of the year.

It is not the fault of these children that they were born into families that could not nurture them adequately. Many of them were placed in foster care because of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Without a loving, permanent family, they will be an increased risk for being undereducated, unemployed, homeless or involved in criminal activity.

Since 1987, the number of children in foster care has almost doubled. The average time a child waits for an adoptive family is more than three years. And this year, almost 25,000 of these young people will leave the system after turning 18, and arrive in the world without a family to advise and support them in the critical years ahead.

Many Americans bemoan the sad state of families in our country today, but the people who work with these children should be applauded for doing something to correct that. As a National Adoption Day slogan proclaims, you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent. The love and care of those who accept foster children into their homes, and when possible welcome them permanently, deserve an ovation.

Brownwood Bulletin