Saturday, November 07, 2009

Filling Family Portraits: An Ohio Adoption Advocacy Event

Who: Adoption advocates, adoptive families, adoptees When: Friday, November 6th, 2009, from Noon - 1:00 p.m.
Where: The Ohio Statehouse, West Lawn, Statehouse Steps
Sponsored by: OACCA, PCSAO, Ohio Adoption Planning Group, Adoption Network Cleveland, OFCA, Ohio CASA, ODJFS, Children's Defense Fund, National Center for Adoption Law and Policy, IHS, and Voices for Ohio's Children.


Did You Know?
One in five children who are waiting in foster care to be adopted will have to leave the system without a family at age 18 or 21. As many as 26,000 children will "age out" in the U.S. alone. (AFCARS Report, U.S. Dept. HHS)

Lisa Dickson's Call to Action:
"I aged out of foster care in 1989 - but it wasn't until over a decade later, in the year 2000, that my picture frame was finally filled." (At this point Lisa held up her wedding photo). "I was 27 years old when I married my husband, and finally became a legal member of a forever family.”

Our children shouldn't have to wait that long. We can do so much better for the young people in and from foster care today. Every year, over a thousand Ohio youth "age out" of the foster care system without being connected with forever families.”

"When I married my husband, I became a stepmother to his two beautiful daughters. We've been married for ten years now, and I learn more every day about what it's like to love two children who are not biologically my daughters - but whom I love more than anything.”

"As I watch my stepdaughters enter their teenage years, and young adulthood, I know that my husband and I will be there for them no matter what. They won't face the uncertainty that I faced as a child.”

"They will know that they are loved. They will know that they are safe. They will know that they have a place to belong to.”

"If they make a mistake while budgeting in college, they won't be homeless. If the road is difficult, I won't pull over the car, and tell them to get out. They will know that, even during the hard times, my love will still be there.”

"There are more than 3,000 children in Ohio who are waiting for that kind of assurance and certainty today.”

"Right now, at this moment, is an opportunity to fill their picture frames with our love. Our consistency. Our perseverance.”

"We who are here today have the strength to love, and the confidence to let adoptees tell us their story. We can build pictures of the future, and face pictures of the past. We can open our hearts and our homes, and provide FOREVER.”

Lisa Dickson, Communications Chair of Foster Care Alumni of America's Ohio chapter, speaks from the heart at the Nov. 6th Adoption Rally “Filling Family Portraits” on the Statehouse Steps. OACCA Weekly, Nov. 9, 2009.

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