The month of May is National Foster Care Month which provides a great opportunity to spread awareness not only about foster care but also adoptions. While I support a dedicated month to raising awareness of these children and honoring the dedicated foster families, caregivers, and volunteers who serve them, our attention to this vulnerable population must be continuous. There are several activities and celebrations throughout Missouri to help build awareness about foster care and adoption, and I encourage everyone to participate in any way you can. Community organizations arrange and host programs and events to share positive stories about foster care and adoption and also draw attention to the thousands of children in foster care and waiting for permanent families.
There are very alarming statistics not only in Missouri but throughout the U.S. about these children. In Missouri alone, there are more than 10,000 foster children hoping for the chance to find a home. In the U.S. there are 400,540 children living without permanent families in the foster care system. There are 115,000 children that are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40 percent of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. And according to the U.S. State Department, in 2011, American families adopted more than 9,000 children internationally. Americans adopted the highest number of children from China followed by Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine.
I will continue to support efforts to promote adoption both in the United States and abroad. There is nothing more important than doing our best to give as many children the chance to grow up with a caring family. With the help of more Americans, the lives of these young people will change for the better.
There is no doubt in my mind that the strength of our great nation is tied to the strength and stability of our families and the ties that bind our families together to provide a nurturing environment for our children to grow and succeed.
We must all work together to provide the smoothest possible transition for children into loving homes. Investment in our adoption and foster care systems is a moral imperative because it provides the opportunity for life for thousands of children who deserve the love of a nurturing and caring family. I remain committed to giving these children the opportunities they need to find a loving home.