National Adoption Month is celebrated every November in an effort to bring national awareness on adoption issues and to bring attention to the need for adoptive families for the children within the foster care system. National Adoption Month also celebrates the families who have grown through adoption. Currently, in Ohio, there are more than 2,600 children waiting to be adopted with nine of those children being in Shelby County. Since 2016, Shelby County Children Services has celebrated 40 adoptions with FIVE of those adoptions occurring thus far in 2021.

Bart and Hilary Brandewie are licensed foster to adopt caregivers with Shelby County Children Services. They have experienced adoption firsthand, stating, “Adoption has completely changed our lives. Our two boys have been the best blessing and we can’t imagine our life without them, they’ve given us a higher purpose and a greater responsibility to do better every day. Adoption has fulfilled our lifelong dreams of becoming parents and raising a family. Experiencing the joys of life through their eyes has been so rewarding, there is nothing better!”

Not only are adoptive families needed nationally, but within our own community. Every child deserves a permanent home where they can be loved, cared for, and kept safe. Children within the foster care system need a family to consider their own to create stability and structure in their lives. Many children within the foster care system will not return to their biological family and this is where prospective families can help!

Shelby County Children Services is in need of families interested in foster care and/or adoption. All prospective foster and/or adoptive parents must have a home study completed which includes information gathering, training, criminal background checks and more. This process can take up to six months to complete and applicants can be single, married, widowed or divorced, a homeowner or renter, with or without children of their own, and must have an income to meet their household needs.

Bart and Hilary shared their experience with Shelby County Children Services, “Whenever we need anything, the agency is quick to help. They provide countless resources for our needs and they are always happy to accommodate us. The transition from foster care to adoption was seamless because of the agency, without their help we wouldn’t have our sons! They always keep us informed of important dates for our case, they have been the driving force behind the scenes to make sure all of this is possible.”

Foster and/or adoptive parents MUST be committed to caring for children as a positive role model. Individuals interested in learning more about adoption can contact Ashley Sherry at 937-498-4981 ext. 2839.

By Ashley Sherry

Guest columnist

The writer is an adoption caseworker with Shelby County Children Services.