I have eight nieces and nephews and have only witnessed three grow inside the belly of a sister-in-law. As a result, our children are very comfortable with the phrase “there are lots of ways to make a family.” And I believe that is true. I’d like to introduce you to a fantastic new organization Let it Be Us, with the mission of promoting adoption within the Illinois foster care system.
With 18,000 kids in Illinois (400,000 in the US) in foster care today, and 3,300 ready for adoption, “fostering to adopt” can be a much shorter process, as in merely months to be final, not years, like domestic and foreign agency adoption.
The average age of a child adopted through foster care is eight-and-a-half, and it’s important to note that adoption from foster care does not discriminate against age, income, marital status, gender or sexual orientation.
Let it Be Us is a Barrington-based organization that advocates for children in the Illinois foster care system by raising awareness of fostering to adopt, providing support and resources for children in the foster care system, and featuring the stories of children waiting for adoption in The Heart Gallery.
One of my favorite sayings about adopting is Adoption is when a child grows in mommy’s heart instead of her tummy. I also make a point not to compare or say “Carlos has your eyes” or “Sandy has your smile.” I’m much more likely to point out their giving spirit or favorite food when I draw those comparisons to their parents and other family members to be inclusive of all types of family.
Make a point to attend an introduction event hosted by Let it Be Us, where you can learn more about the fostering process, or consider donating money or time to help advocate for adoption from fostering. There are so many ways to get involved, and Let it Be Us makes it easy to connect with the process. Upcoming family events, fundraising opportunities, and recruiting meetings are all listed on the website.
Each child’s story is their own–special and miraculous. I fell hard in love with the goals and mission of Let it Be Us, and hopefully, you will too.