Finding Forever…

Finding Forever…

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A Eugene woman and an 11-year-old girl navigate the rewarding yet sometimes frustrating road to adoption By Mark Baker The Register- Guard Think about the state taking you away from your troubled mother when you’re just 7 years old. Think about bouncing from one foster home to the next before finally being placed in one for three years while awaiting an adoption over which you have no control. And then think about how, one day, you meet a woman from Oregon, who’s been “matched” with you through a foster child adoption service in that faraway state, and who says she wants to take you home with her — forever. Think about all of that and decide for yourself whether Loreanne might be the bravest 11-year-old girl you’d ever want to meet. Because Lori, as she is known to all who know and love her, is not only living here in

Words of Wisdom From an Adoptive Couple

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From my vantage point as an adoptive mom of three siblings (now ages 7, 10 and 11) who were placed with us for adoption 18 months ago, I have two messages for those who are at any point in the adoption process: It’s worth the waiting and the hard work Life does get easier My husband, Jack and I talked about adopting for almost 10 years before we finally made the choice to become parents, chose A Family for Every Child and started the home study process.  During that time Jack even went back to school to become a nurse so he could support our family and I could be a stay-at-home mom.  Most of our waiting was during those years of school and making the decision to be parents because we were blessed to be chosen at our first committee, within just a few months of our home study

The Call That Changed Our Lives

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In 1997 a speaker from the Mississippi Baptist Children’s Village came to address our church congregation on orphan ministry opportunities in our community. My wife and I had no prior knowledge and had given little thought about opening our home to help other people’s children. Our hearts were deeply touched by the stories the speaker recounted. Immediately after the service my wife and I began to consider becoming involved as an extended family to local children from the village. The children at the village are not adoptable as the purpose of the ministry was to provide a safe Christian temporary environment for children whose parents for a variety of reasons (incarceration, drug treatment, financial) could not care for their own kids. What the ministry needed was families to qualify and be trained as ‘extended families’ providing weekend, holiday and summer foster care for the children so they did not have

The Hard Stuff…

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Seven years ago, I trained for a half marathon.  Several weeks into the training I began to wonder why I had decided to take on this race.  My body ached everywhere.  Three weeks before the race I began to experience intense pain in my left foot.  It was a searing pain right below my toes on the pad of my foot.  It hurt with each step!  I could barely make it down the stairs much less finish my long training runs.  I had spent the past three months of my life training five days a week to finish my scheduled race.  It had become a large focus of my life and time, and I wanted to finish.  Quitting at this point was not an option.  I was going to compete on that Saturday in June, even if I had to walk the 13.1 miles. I really didn’t want to walk!

From Mom to Not in Seven Minutes… Continued!

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Systemic stress Over three months of observing Family Court around the city and speaking to scores of the lawyers, judges, parents and advocates who populate it, City Limits learned that an already near impossible task has, in recent years, become even harder to perform. Judges are severely overburdened, but judicial seats go unfilled. Family Court dockets “exceed the capacity of a limited corps of judges and staff,” according to a 2008 report by the New York State Senate’s Judiciary Committee. Loaner judges serve on the Family Court bench with mixed enthusiasm—and with steep learning curves. Delays between hearings can stretch for a month or more, as judges and lawyers juggle dockets and obligations in other courts. Child abuse, neglect, custody and support cases can take years to complete. Recent budget cuts have gutted programs that lightened some of the judges’ burden. The same cuts have also eliminated procedural structures designed

From Mom to Not in Seven Minutes: Inside Family Court

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City Limits spent months observing Family Court and found an overburdened system where delays were endemic, legal help was scarce and the approach to solving family problems was divided. This is the first chapter in our report. The lives of the city’s most vulnerable citizens—tens of thousands of its neediest children—are irrevocably shaped by the decisions handed down in Family Court, yet the children themselves are rarely present. A woman in a white puffy coat and her lawyer sit at a blond-wood conference table on the left side of the courtroom. On the right, a lawyer for the city and a caseworker from the city’s child protective agency fill a twin conference table. A lawyer for the child who is the focus of the hearing sits at a small side table, barricaded by stacks of folders and binders. The judge sits at the center of a low, wood-paneled dais. Her

Success with Family Finding

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Joey & Eric Consider the case of Joey and Eric, two teenagers who were raised in the foster care system for over 10 years while their family tried desperately to find them. Joey, now 19 and his brother Eric (soon to be 17) lived in separate foster homes. Joey excelled in school, sports, and life. Eric struggled with anger issues and was moved to several different foster homes. The case worker referred this case to Family Finding primarily at the request of Joey, who wanted to know his family. The Family Finding volunteer located Family in California, Nevada, and Oklahoma. During the first Family Meeting, family members where so anxious to connect with these young men that they were willing to drive to Oregon immediately just to meet the boys. An 18 year old sister even offered to be an adoptive placement. Family members where emotional, excited, and some were

Grandma’s Cornbread Stuffing

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From the age of six until age eighteen, I was raised in a multigenerational home.  The tiny house was home to me, my mother, brother, and grandparents.  It was a tight fit for all of us in this two bedroom bungalow on the outskirts of Los Angeles.  We shared bedrooms, one bathroom, a television, and one house phone.  We had no secrets from each other.  How could we have secrets we had no space?  We shared more than a house; we shared a life together, all the good and bad, laughter and tears, battles and victories.  It wasn’t perfect, but few things in this world hold that title.  It is my heritage.  We all have a story and this is a large part of mine. During this time wedged into this house I learned things.  I learned what makes my brother mad and what makes him laugh.  I learned how

Siblings Reunited: Sara and James

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Sara is an almost 21 year old who came into foster care when she was ten years old due to her mother’s death from alcoholism. An older brother was unable to care for her because of her high needs. Her father was unknown. She is currently living in an adult foster home as she is developmentally delayed and needs supervision and aid with daily tasks. Sara’s caseworker referred her for Family Finding as she was about to ‘age out’ of Department of Human Services care and she wanted Sara to be reconnected with supportive family. After making calls, the Family Finding volunteer located and connected with Sara’s older brother James. Due to the possibility of Sara being adopted, contact with James had been halted years ago. Sara ended up not being adopted and had been living in permanent foster care. James told the Family Finder that he thought of Sara

Disney’s Documentary: Chimpanzee

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On Earth day April 22, 2012 Disney released the nature documentary entitled Chimpanzee.  The film follows a young common chimpanzee named Oscar who finds himself alone in the African forests when his mother is killed.  Oscar is in his toddler years when he is orphaned.  He is a part of a close-knit tribe of Chimpanzees, but no other female chimpanzee can afford to take him into her fold.  Oscar is too young to care for himself and he attempts to find a spot in each of the other family units within his tribe.  After being rejected by all possible care takers he approaches the leader of the tribe named Freddie.   The pair slowly begins to warm up to each other and eventually Freddie allows Oscar to ride on his back, something only mother chimps do.  It is a moving documentary that took over four years to film.  The film gives