Russellville recognizes Adoption Awareness Month
It’s National Adoption Awareness Month, and two local women have set out to ensure people take notice.
Sandy Allison, president of the Franklin County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, and Stacy Carden, with Franklin County DHR, accepted a resolution approved by the City of Russellville City Council Nov. 2 recognizing this special awareness initiative.
One aspect of adoption Carden and Allison wanted to highlight was adoption through fostering. Carden said in Franklin County there are about 70-80 children in the foster care system at any time – consequently, there is a great need for people willing to step up and open their homes.
“We have such a select group of foster parents,” Carden said.
Limitations –like geographical restraints, or how many children a foster family is licensed for, or how big a sibling group is – can make it very difficult to place children. Additionally, conditions are not always right for a foster child to ever return home.
“Our main goal is to provide safe homes for kids until they can return home to their birth families, but that can’t always happen,” Carden said.
Such was the case for Allison and her husband, who recently finalized the adoption of four children they had been fostering.
“We hadn’t planned to adopt,” Allison said. “They couldn’t return home. We’re in love with the kids, and they’re in love with us.”
Loving children, Allison said, is what drove her and her husband to become foster parents. “We feel like we were God-called. It kept being put on our hearts.”
Carden similarly points to being called by God when she explains how she chose her role with DHR.
“I didn’t grow up in a perfect home, and I wanted to help someone know they could have a better life for themselves,” said Carden, who has worked for the DHR for six years, in adoption for two years.
Anyone who would like to learn more about fostering and adoption can call the Franklin County DHR at 256-331-5900. A 10-week training course is offered to familiarize people with the system and provide valuable information.
“That will show them what to expect, issues you’re going to encounter and ways DHR can be supportive,” Carden said.
Also offering support is the Franklin County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, which assists and encourages adoptive and foster families and holds fundraisers to provide gifts and parties for children in the system.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they have a heart for it to do it,” said Allison, noting that although there can be challenges, in the end, “It’s all worth it.”