Local agency finds parents for children - Catholic Courier

Local agency finds parents for children

ROCHESTER — A singular belief guides the work of Pat Burks, associate director of Children Awaiting Parents, Inc.

“No child is unadoptable — they just haven’t met the right parents yet,” she said.

Burks noted that her not-for-profit organization, headquartered at 595 Blossom Road, is devoted to finding adoptive families for children who are abused, neglected or abandoned, and have been in the foster-care system or lived in group homes for a long time, sometimes several years. Many of the children CAP serves are older and/or minorities, and may have physical and/or mental disabilities, she said. Some of them are sibling groups seeking to be adopted together, she added.

Such children may be an attractive adoption alternative for adults who want to open their hearts to an adoptive child, but prefer to forego raising a child from infancy, or who find the cost of international adoptions — sometimes as high as $10,000 — to be daunting, she said.

CAP promotes its children through the placement of newspaper items, as well as the publication of the CAP Book, which presents pictures and stories about the children, and through its Web site at www.capbook.org. The Web site’s “Meet Our Children” section allows visitors to click on pictures of children awaiting adoption to view profiles of the children. Click on “Bryan, No. 9621,” for example, and you’ll see a smartly dressed African-American boy who is in the first grade and loves TV, toy cars and trucks.

“Bryan would love to have pets, but most important is a family that will encourage his curiosity and growth,” his profile says.

The CAP Web site also contains detailed information on the adoption process, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. For example, the site notes that it’s less expensive to adopt through a public agency than through a private agency, and that adoptive parents may qualify for tax credits to defray the cost of adoption expenses.

Founded as a local organization in 1972, CAP later expanded its scope to assist children throughout the United States. Over the years, it has helped almost 5,000 children find permanent homes. Still, the organization notes that the need for adoptive parents is tremendous, and that there are literally tens of thousands of children seeking to be adopted in the United States.

Trelawney McCoy, a 40-year-old Rochester single mother, knows about fulfilling that need first-hand. In addition to her biological daughter, McCoy has three adopted sons, and currently cares for two foster children as well. She estimated that she has opened her home to a total of 15 foster children over the years, and added that she has spoken on behalf of CAP at various public functions, answering questions from prospective adoptive parents.

During an interview in her home — which could be mistaken for a gallery of children’s photography — McCoy said parents considering adoption need to take an inventory of themselves.

“If you’re going to take an older child, make sure that you know this is something you really want to do, not just here,” she said, pointing to her head, “but in your heart.”

She said some adoptable children have lived in abusive situations, and may take time to open up about their experiences to their new families. She added that some children have been so abused that, at first, they may actually seem resentful of being loved. Other children may be so accustomed to taking care of younger siblings that they will need to be gently guided away from acting as “adults” and learning how to properly relate to an adoptive parent, she said.

“Don’t think that you’re going to get the perfect child, because that child will have issues,” she said. “It’s not about you. It’s all about them and shaping them for tomorrow.”

However, for those willing to open their hearts to a child who may have never been properly loved, the rewards are immense, she said. She noted that her adopted sons have taught her to believe in herself because they believe in her. She said she was especially touched on day when she picked up one of her sons from school, and he excitedly told his classmates, “That’s my mom!”

“My boys have taught me unconditional love,” she said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For information on Children Awaiting Parents, Inc., call 585/232-5110.

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