Olivia, Faith, and Hope are seeking a foster family, and an area group — Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition —is here to help.
Like many children throughout the metro-east, these close sisters need a stable family environment in which to complete their education and grow into strong, empowered women.
Olivia, 17, is a high school senior who enjoys reading and writing poetry. When she’s not in school, she works at a culinary internship program. Faith is 14 years old and in eighth grade. Athletically and scholastically inclined, Faith spends her free time honing her basketball skills. The youngest, Hope, is an 11-year-old who adores her elder siblings and longs for an active and community-minded family where she can grow up alongside the sisters she loves.
Since its founding in 1989, the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition has helped hundreds of children like Olivia, Faith and Hope throughout the St. Louis area find temporary and forever homes. The parents who step forward to care for these children are supported through a network of familial services on the coalition’s website, www.foster-adopt.org.
This year alone, almost 450 children are being cared for in St. Clair county, one of the many areas that the coalition covers. Whether a child is adopted or returned to his or her parents varies.
“A little over 50 percent of children leave foster care to reunite with their parents and around 40 percent of children leave foster care through adoption or guardianship,” Holly Kieu, a foster and adoptive home recruiter for the coalition, said in an email.
If readers are unable to adopt or foster a child, but still want to help, there are a variety of volunteer and donation opportunities like the coalition sponsored programs, “Little Wishes” and “Birthday Buddy.”
In the Little Wishes program, donors get the chance to act like Cinderella’s fairy godmother and make children’s dreams come true through small donations. Foster children give the coalition one “wish” per year and the cost cannot exceed $200. These wishes, which range from dance lessons to the installation of a basketball hoop, help a child develop or enhance a skill. More than just material gifts, wishes are also used to strengthen familial bonds when siblings are living in separate foster homes by funding group visits to popular attractions like the Arch or Zoo or local restaurants.
Interested donors can also give to needy children through the Birthday Buddy program. The children who participate in this program have been identified as likely to receive very few or no gifts for his or her birthday. Foster parents provide the coalition with a list of birthday present ideas for the children in their care, which is then posted on the website or assigned to a specific donor. Sometimes younger Birthday Buddy donors ask that guests attending their own birthday parties bring presents for a foster child in lieu of a birthday gift for him or her. The Birthday Buddy program can help introduce a child to the joys of volunteering and donating gifts to others in need.
If neither of these programs appeal, “A dedicated coalition volunteer coordinator can match up interested volunteers with the appropriate opportunities. There are so many ways to give time and attention to these children — more than can be listed,” Kieu said.
If you are interested in helping, or learning more about the adoption or foster home process, please contact the Brentwood, Missouri-based Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition at 1-800-367-8373 or www.foster-adopt.org.