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Children in search of a home and caring

BY: Cristina Loboguerrero / EDLP |   12:01 AM | 04/13/2012 |   The Journal


New York. - A group of Hispanic parents was enthusiastic yesterday to encourage other families to become part - as they have - of the adoption and fostering system that provides secure homes to children who are abandoned or have been removed from dysfunctional families.

Maria Cintron describes her experience with the three foster children she has had for the past two years, as "the biggest thing God has given me." Now she is just waiting to take the final step to become the adoptive mother of the children who are three and five years of age.

"You love the children no matter what nationality they are," said Luz Ferrera, who is also waiting for the adoption of the two little ones she has had for the past three years, having received them: one at age 7 and the other direct from the hospital.

These children form part of the nearly 1,700 children who were eligible for adoption last year, according to figures from the Administration for Children's Services (ACS), for whom - for various reasons, the rights of their biological parents have been terminated.

The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) indicated that last year, about 241 children under two years of age were adopted. Of these, only 68 were Latino, of whom 59 were two years old and 9 were only one year old.

Between July 1st and October 31st of last year, the number of adoptions fell slightly from 345 to 316, compared to the same period in 2010. The same thing happened with the cases of children placed in foster care that fell from 2,336 to 1,909 children.

Currently, there are 13,830 children in foster care. However, ACS did not provide a percentage of how many of these children are Latino.

According to Fabiola Toribio, Director of Social Services for Catholic Guardian Society and Home Bureau in the Bronx, under current regulations, "our job is to try to reunite families where biological parents have complied with the requirements that have been asked of them."

Toribio believes that the adoption process takes on average 12 to 16 months. "Meanwhile, many parents opt to have the children in quality foster care," she said.

About 50 children have lived at the home of Monica Gonzalez, during the over 20 years she has served as a foster parent. "It's tough when you see these children, some with so many problems. But at the same time, it feels good to know that you are saving a life by giving them a home," she said.

"One just repeats what one has lived in one's own house, and in mine I saw the love of family," strongly reiterates Maribel Feliz, who has spent five years as a foster parent.

Vladimir Carvajal, Director of Foster Care and Adoption Services for the Coalition of Hispanic Family Services in Brooklyn, noted that it is important that more Hispanics register for fostering programs as well as adoption.

"The love of Latina mothers is immeasurable and Latino children need to be in those homes" concluded Carvajal.

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