COUNTY—In light of the seven Wayne County children, the over 2,500 children in Pennsylvania and the more than 110,000 children across the nation in the foster care system awaiting adoption by a forever family, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners proclaimed November to be Adoption Awareness Month.

In the proclamation, the commissioners “challenge all Wayne County residents to do their part in promoting the adoption of teens in foster care and supporting those families who choose to open their hearts and homes to such amazing youth.”

According to a press release from Wayne Country Children and Youth Services (CYS), of the 110,000 children awaiting adoption 12,500 are between 15 and 17 years old.

“The focus this year is on older youth for adoption,” stated CYS adoption supervisor and spokesperson at the meeting, Sarah Nahman.

The CYS press release – distributed at the commissioners meeting – states, “Most children waiting to be adopted are older youth who have experienced significant hardships before coming into care.”

The release further states these children are unable to be reunited with their original families.

To help said children find a sense of grounding, Nahman explained CYS' two permanency caseworkers, Shannon Joyal and Felicia Clark, work with them to find permanent living solutions, often in the care of an adopted family.

As quoted in the release, Joyal stated “These are kids that need support through school, through college, through life events such as their wedding, or the birth of their own child. These are the kids that get forgotten once they are beyond a certain age.”

Also in the release, Clark added that the right family match can change a child's life. “We see youth blossom when they find their forever family. They go from feeling worthless to wanted, empowered, and confident.”

In the spirit of Adoption Awareness Month, CYS announced the expansion of post permanency services – including assessment, advocacy and respite among others – to any Pennsylvania residents who have adopted at least one child or provide permanency though the foster program.

These are provided through a partnership with the Statewide Adoption Network (SWAN), Children's Service Center, and Loftus-Vergari.

CYS will hold two presentations detailing these services on Tuesday, December 5 at the CYS Library in the Park Street Complex at 648 Park Street in Honesdale.

The first, held at 2 p.m., will explain matters to professionals such as guidance counselors, pediatricians, court personnel, attorneys and various mental health professionals.

The second, later that evening at 5 p.m., is tailored to relay information to families who have adopted children in the past, are going through the process now, or have considered adoption in the near future.

“There can be no lonelier life than to need a family and want a family and wanna be loved,” empathized Board of Commissioners Chairman Brian Smith, adding praise for CYS and their efforts to alleviate such instances.

“I hope you feel a benefit every day that you go to work and know that you're appreciated by many,” he said.

Speaking to his own past experiences as part of the system, Commissioner Wendell Kay stated, “It's a very involved process. … I know from experience in my past life as an attorney, it can be very frustrating at times to find that right fit for a child and for a family...

“We need people like yourselves to be dedicated so that children can have the best possibilities … that we can provide.”

Recalling his time working within the school system, Commissioner Joseph Adams stated, “There's nothing better than to have a happy family, and what you do to help provide happy families … is what it really takes to make sure that education works.”

Thanking CYS for the services provided, Adams continued, “The single most important thing for almost every family is having a caring, loving family.”

Those interested in providing a home for one or more of the seven children awaiting adoption in Wayne County can find more information about the process by calling CYS at 570-253-5102 or the SWAN Helpline at 1-800-585-7926.

More information is also available online at: www.adoptpakids.org.