HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
When you think of a good parent or someone who was a good role model for you, who do you think of? For me it is easy, I have wonderful parents. They were hard on me sometimes when I needed a push and they loved me even when I was being difficult.
While you may not think of it often, adults mold the lives of the youth around them, teaching them morals and how to act. Unfortunately, not everyone has parents or good role models to look up to.
There are 428,000 children in foster care in America, and in New Mexico there are approximately 2,500 minors in need of a temporary or long-term home on any given day.
Adoption and fostering are important to me because it absolutely breaks my heart knowing there are an abundance of children that need some sort of assistance or someone to love them.
I have heard comments on how ‘magical’ child birth is or how if you adopt a child they could end up ‘damaged’ because their birth parents might not have devoted enough time to them. If you were in their position, wouldn’t you want someone to invest in you?
I am not adopted, and I do not have any immediate family members who were. When I hear stories that revolve around foster care or adoption systems, it sounds like these kids have very little to their name, less than comfortable living situations and minimal support due to there being so many children. Then I think about my childhood, all the opportunities and love I was given. I know I want to be able to provide that kind of life for someone else.
About 60 percent of children in foster care spend two to five years waiting for someone to adopt them. These are critical years in the development of youth, a time they should be nurtured and cultivated.
In the military, we are in the perfect position to invest in youth. Whether it is by volunteering with youth-centered organizations or through adoption, most of us could find time to do something to help.
With so many individuals in some sort of youth service it is critical we, as a community, look out for them and try our best to offer them all we can in guidance and physical support. While only 2.5 percent of all children under 18 are adopted, would you be happy knowing you could have made a difference in their life but chose not to?
The prominent organization in New Mexico is the New Mexico Child Youth and Families Department. Every two months, a representative comes to the Airman and Family Readiness Center here to provide more education and insight on adoption and foster care.
“What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall