300-plus Montana Children Waiting for Families
BILLINGS and GREAT FALLS, Mont. - A party on Thursday in Great Falls will be held to celebrate the adoptions of about a dozen children.
November is National Adoption Month, designed to draw attention to the importance of permanent families for children - especially those in foster care. Lutheran Social Services of Montana caseworker Diana Tolstedt said more than 300 children are in state foster care, waiting for "forever families."
"Out of no fault of their own, they are removed from their home of origin," she said, "and you just realize - they're just kids. The kids want families, even teenagers."
Tolstedt cited misconceptions about children in foster care - that they all need special education or are troublemakers. Some do have health or behavior challenges, she said, but most only need extra attention as they deal with grief and loss. Tolstedt said there are resources for families to help them deal with those emotions.
Children who do not connect with permanency while in the foster system often do not make a successful leap to adulthood because they "age out" and end up on their own at 18. Tolstedt said she finds that unacceptable.
"It's our responsibility, I think, as a society," she said. "If we are going to remove children from their family of birth, then we owe them the work and the care that it takes to find a family, a forever family for them, that they can grow up in."
Seventeen adoptions were celebrated in Billings last weekend. Families interested in adopting can call 406-655-7781.
The event in Great Falls is to start at 2 p.m. at the Cascade County Courthouse, 415 Second Ave. N.