December 23, 2017
These four little letters can have a profound meaning in any life. Without hope, what is life? This little word carries on its shoulders during the Christmas season, a celebration of the birth of Christ. For Christians all across the world, this brings us “Hope”.
This word, “Hope”, for children trapped in our foster care system can be a serious lifeline. They “hope” to be returned to their parents, or they “hope” to stay with the foster parents they have grown to trust, or they “hope” that an adoptive family will come forth and release them from their life of uncertainty and be their forever family.
This week I had the honor of representing 8 children ranging in age from a few months to thirteen years as our courts make legal the families that had been created through adoption. Adoption = Permanency for children. It is the gold standard for foster children. The statistics support this gold standard. Only 3% of children who find permanency through adoption will re-enter the foster care system while 38% of children whose are placed in relative custody will re-enter the foster care system. So, why would our state purposefully not provide the level of permanency for our foster children that give them a “Hope” of best possible chance for a rich and stable life? That is a question for Susan Alford, Director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, our legislators and others who disregard the best interest of our most vulnerable children.
But this week, one thirteen-year- old boy who endured 18 other placements over many years of his young life, “Hope” was barely visible at times in the long dark tunnel of the foster care system. Nevertheless, “HOPE” found him and the 7 other children adopted this week, in the hearts and minds of their foster, now forever families. Some of them are pictured below.