A series of new PSAs has been released, encouraging potential adoptive parents to consider adopting older children. Created through a partnership between Durable Goods, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), AdoptUSKids, and the Ad Council, the PSAs feature stories from real families who found adoption of older children from foster care to be rewarding.
“Our goal for these new PSAs is to continue to share poignant and emotional stories as genuine as the teens and parents who inspired them,” Michelle Hillman, Chief Campaign Development Officer of the Ad Council, said in a press release. “Through these films, we can help prospective parents see the rewards that come with adopting teens from foster care: a lifetime of memories and experiences that both parents and children benefit from.”
In “Lucky Ones,” a mother reflects on her experience adopting a teenage girl as someone tells her how lucky the girl is to have been adopted. The mother ends the ad by insisting that she was the lucky one, not her daughter. In “Portrait,” an adoptive family repeatedly reaches out to their adopted son, seemingly to be rebuffed each time. But at the end of the ad, he is shown to have drawn portraits of each member of the family, showing their attempts were meaningful to him all along.
“This was such a special project,” Meghan Frederico, Durable Goods Director, said. “I spent six months working closely with the team to research, concept, and script these films, and it all began by speaking with families who had adopted teens from foster care. These conversations ran the gamut from tear-jerking to hilarious, and it was important to me that our work captured that full spectrum of emotion. Not just the emotional resonance of their stories, but also the vitality, joy, and spirit of these families.”
People considering adoption rarely consider an older child from foster care, and statistics released along with the PSAs make that fact even more clear. Though teenagers make up 22% of the children waiting to be adopted in the foster care system, they only make up 11% of adopted children.
Many consider older children from foster care to be too damaged or difficult, even though aging out of foster care makes it much more difficult to find success and stability in life. Less than 10% of foster youth graduate from college, while children who age out of foster care are at a substantially higher risk of problems like homelessness, unwanted pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment, criminal activity, and more. This is, in large part, because foster youth who age out of the system do not have the lifetime support of a family to be there to help them navigate adulthood.
“These exciting new PSAs demonstrate to prospective parents that adopting a teenager means experiencing all of the love, joys, challenges, and rewards of parenting,” Aysha E. Schomburg, Associate Commissioner, Children’s Bureau, said. “Teens never outgrow the need for a healthy family, and many teens who are in foster care especially benefit from the love, support, and stability that adoption can provide. Parents, teenagers, siblings, extended family, and communities all benefit when parents adopt a teenager and begin a new chapter of their family’s story together.”
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