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National Adoption Month Focuses on Finding Forever Families for Children in Need

by Kathie Sizemore , Program Officer 3, Communications, Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services
The Johnson-Myers family who adopted three siblings.
The Johnson-Myers family who adopted three siblings.
November marks National Adoption Month, a time to focus efforts on finding families for children who don’t have them. Across the U. S., more than 123,000 children are waiting for their forever families. Six-hundred of those children reside right here in Cuyahoga County.

There are many myths that preclude people from considering adopting a child. Myths like, “You can’t be single, or live in an apartment.” Or, “Kids in foster care are difficult and detached.” The reality is, with the right mindset, virtually anyone can become an adoptive parent. And children in foster care are longing for loving families to come into their lives. Their pasts may not have been bright, but they look ahead to what their futures may hold.

The requirements to become an adoptive parent in Cuyahoga County are simple – be at least 18 years of age; be in good physical, emotional and mental health; and have enough means to support yourself. The Division of Child and Family Services can help with the rest. We provide the training, resources and support to turn your desire to help into a remarkable reality for both you and your adopted child.

In 2019, we celebrated the adoption of 107 children in Cuyahoga County. Of those, 32 children were in our custody for five years or longer. While we are comforted when children come into our care and quickly connect with a family, we never give up on the ones who are with us for longer periods of time.

The Johnson-Myers family is one example of a success story for one of our longer-staying sibling groups. Deanna’Marie, Dequarius and Shermon had been waiting for a forever family for eight years, when we received a call from the Johnson-Myers. The Johnson-Myers’ had children of their own who had grown and moved out, leaving them yearning for the bustle of a home busy with children. They connected with us through a national adoption site, and now their home is again filled with a loving family.

After five years of waiting—and a failed adoption that took them all the way to St. Louis—brothers Alex and Gabe are now thriving together with their new family. Their case managers searched endlessly to find them parents who would ensure they get the love, medical attention and education they deserve. They are another wonderful example of how lives can be changed forever when people open their hearts and homes to children in need.

These outcomes give us renewed hope for all the children in our custody. We believe there are more homes out there that echo with the emptiness of families grown – homes that make the perfect blank page for a new chapter to be written by our adoptable children. Could one of those be yours?

If you are contemplating making room in your life for a child in need, we encourage you to call and learn more. Contact our Adoption and Foster Placement Specialists at 216-881-5775 or visit everychildneedsfamily.com.