National Adoption Month Brings Hope for Iowa’s Foster Kids

There are more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care waiting to be adopted and they’ve spent an average of nearly two years in care. In Iowa, a push coinciding with National Adoption Month is underway to get more kids adopted. KCRG-TV9reports on the state’s efforts:

In Iowa alone, about 6,100 children are staying with foster families. But 765 of those kids could be adopted by a qualified family right now because their biological parents have had parental rights terminated.

This month, public adoption events are scheduled in eight Iowa cities. On Friday, five children in Cedar Rapids officially joined new families.

Gabby was one of those five children who was adopted. However, her new family is one she’s known for a long time. A friend and neighbor of the Blauer family for years, Gabby is now, officially, one of the family:

Typically, families and children don’t want to end up in a juvenile courtroom. But members of the Scott and Dana Blauer family were more than happy to answer questions from a juvenile judge about [Gabby]. The Blauers were ready to formalize an adoption and Gabby was more than ready to join a new family.

“It’s taken a long time,” the 16-year-old said later adding with a sigh “it’s good.”

Perhaps no one was more excited about the new addition to the family than Roxanne Blauer, the family’s 16-year-old daughter who is already best friends with Gabby:

“It’s the greatest thing ever to have my best friend since very young come in and be my sister now legally and everything,” Roxanne Blauer said.

Roxanne and Dana don’t agree on who brought up the idea of adopting Gabby, but Dana says the adoption won’t change anything about the already deep bond the family has with Gabby:

“Gabby’s always been a part of our life anyway even as a small child. So it doesn’t feel any different,” Dana Blauer said.

Going forward, organizations like Iowa KidsNet are taking the lead on getting more of the state’s kids adopted. While much more needs to be done for these kids, stories like Gabby’s give workers hope that they’re on the right path:

“Iowa KidsNet has done a wonderful job and they don’t stop here. They follow up to make sure families are doing a good job. I’m just real excited about it because I come from an adopted family,” [Iowa KidsNet volunteer Kevin] Slater said.