The following letter to the editor ran in the Washington Post, April 22, in response to the article, “A celebration saved.” (April 11, 2020).
The novel coronavirus crisis has created an uncertain environment for children waiting to be adopted and the families eager to adopt. The story of Erica Walker’s virtual adoption of her son, Dylan, is an example of the practical changes possible to protect public health while ensuring that the more than 125,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care do not have to wait longer for a family.
Adoption professionals are taking innovative approaches to continue supporting youths in their care, understanding that their resolve to find children safe, loving homes must match the urgency of this moment. We implore judges to follow the lead of Judge Andrea Hertzfeld and others using technology to keep adoptions and critical court hearings moving.
We are calling for states to put a three-to-six-month moratorium on allowing youths to age out of foster care. Research shows that 1 in 5 teenagers who age out without a family will be homeless after age 18. These youths face an increased risk from the coronavirus because of close quarters in shelters if they are homeless, few opportunities for employment and a lack of access to health care should they become infected.
It is up to all of us to use the resources we have at our disposal to ensure that no child faces this crisis, or any other, without the stability and support of a forever home.
Rita Soronen, Columbus, Ohio
The writer is President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
No child should face the COVID-19 crisis or any other without the love and support of a permanent family. Give now to help find adoptive homes for children waiting in foster care.