Help foster kids find their ‘forever families’

In Sherburne County, there are 63 children in foster care homes at this time. Of those, 22 percent are 12-18 years old. Many of these youth are seeking adoption and permanent, lifelong connections, which are critical to helping them prepare and succeed as they enter adulthood. As of Sept. 1, 2016, 42 percent of Minnesota children waiting to be adopted were 12 to 18 years old.
November is National Adoption Month. And this year, Sherburne County is working with a new nonprofit, The Reel Hope Project, to help put the focus on adoption on kids who have become the responsibility of the state. These children, often living in foster homes, dream of finding a home with their “forever families.”
The Reel Hope Project, started by Kaycee Stanley, partners community members and local churches to help find forever homes to foster families using the power of media and storytelling. The Reel Hope Project’s goal is to create two minute videos of kids in foster care who are waiting for a family. Reel Hope then brings these videos to churches, faith communities, conferences and events to invite people to adopt these kids. Their belief is that once people start seeing the real faces and real personalities of real foster kids in our counties, people will be moved to open their homes, lives and hearts to these amazing young people.
The Reel Hope Project partnered with Sherburne County last month to make a video for Leo, a 14-year old student who has lived under the guardianship of the state for three years. Leo likes skateboarding and robotics and hopes to find a forever family that can “love on each other and help each other out.” There are still four children from Sherburne County like Leo who are desperately seeking to find their forever families. Nationally, there are over 100,000 kids in the foster care system who are waiting for a lifelong family to surround them with love and care.
For more information about The Reel Hope Project, to see the first few kid videos or to get involved in this mission, go to www.thereelhopeproject.org. For more information about Minnesota’s waiting children or how to become a foster family or adoptive family, go to www.mnadopt.org or https://www.co.sherburne.mn.us/hhs/adoption.
Sherburne County also hosts an adoption/foster/kinship support group that meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Monticello Community Center from 6:30-8 p.m. Programming is available for children 8 years and older and the Community Center Childcare is available for children ages 8 weeks to 8 years for a small fee. In addition, there is a daytime support group that meets on the fourth Thursday of each month from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Central Lutheran Church in Elk River. Those who would like to connect with other families who have adopted or going through the process of adopting children from the foster care system are encouraged to attend. The support groups are facilitated by Main Street Family Services and are sponsored by Sherburne and Wright County Health and Human Services and the United Way. — Amanda Larson, Sherburne County Health and Human Services