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Adoptions encouraged in Pike County

As National Adoption Month comes to a close, Pike County DHR is seeking for more Pike County families to become foster families and even consider adopting children.

Shannon Staggs doesn’t just work to make this happen through her position at DHR, she and her husband Eddie fostered children for five years and adopted three children during that time.

“My husband and I started helping a family out and then it turned into us wanting to get involved with foster care so we started the process,” Staggs said. “So we went through the training and got our license and provided a foster home for five years.”

In that time, the Staggs had 32 children come through and grace their home. Many of those were “respite,” Staggs said, only there for a short time as more permanent settlements were arranged, while others were there for a year or more. And the children ranged in age from newborns all the way to 19 years old.

“We really enjoyed working with the teenagers,” Staggs said. “They’re kind of like an onion; you have to peel through the layers. There are going to be some tears shed, but once they know that you truly care about them, some things start to change and they trust you more and open up with you. They feel included as part of the family.”

Staggs said finding permanent, loving homes for the children who are legally eligible for adoption is important to giving children the best environment possible to grow up in.

Alabama DHR has been focused on increasing adoptions and has completed more than 700 of them for the second consecutive year.

“There are currently more than 6,400 children in foster care in Alabama,” said Patricia Faircloth, director of Pike County DHR. “Today, almost 200 children are in the permanent custody of the Department waiting for adoptive families to be matched with them. Many of these children have been in foster care more than two years. There is a desperate need for adoptive families who are willing to be the link for teens and youth being emancipated from the foster care system. There are a number of sibling groups who desire to have forever families where they can remain with their siblings. The Department of Human Resources recruits potential adoptive families as well as foster families to meet the needs of these children”

The Heart Gallery has information regarding children in Alabama who are legally available for adoption through the Alabama Department of Human Resources. There are bios and pictures of individual children and sibling groups who are waiting for their forever families. The mission of the website is to locate forever families for children in foster care with the mantra “There are no unwanted children. Only unfound families.” The gallery can be accessed at heartgalleryalabama.com.

“While most children who enter the foster care system are able to be returned quickly to their parents or safe family members; unfortunately, some children enter foster care with no one willing or able to commit to them long-term,” Faircloth said. “Pike County DHR currently has 30 children in foster care with eight who are legally available for adoption.”

Anyone interested in becoming a foster and/or adoptive parent should contact Pike County DHR at (334) 807-6120. The next set of classes will begin in January 2020.