AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Statewide, agencies are struggling to find homes for thousands of adoptable children, and hundreds of them are in the Texas Panhandle.
"Why not me?" This is the question adoption and foster officials across Texas have to answer regularly.
Now departments are making it their priority more than ever to educate all potential parents on the ongoing issue.
There are more than 800 foster children in the Texas Panhandle, and more than 200 who are ready for adoptive families.
And the problem stretches far beyond the panhandle, as more than 6,000 Texas children and teens are also waiting.
"We really are pushing families to be more into fostering and then adopting whenever that case comes open," says Melissa Sartor with Buckner Children and Family Services. "We want those kids to ultimately be able to go home to their families if that's the best for them. But if not, we need those families to stand up."
Special Delivery is a private adoption agency, and though they primarily deal with mothers giving up infants for adoption, they are also seeing the impact of so many kids in the system.
"The children that are in the system are victims of circumstances they had no control over," says Executive Director Cindy Gilliland. "And so waiting to be adopted and have a family is just heartbreaking."
What is most needed right now, is people willing to take on an older child. On top of that, many of the kids are sibling groups, and do not want to be separated from their brothers or sisters.
Many have special medical, physical or emotional needs, and officials are well aware of the major commitment.
"Foster families and adoptive families are called to walk with foster and adoptive kids in that brokenness and help them through that healing process," says Sartor. "Because it's not just pretty whenever they're adopted. It's not like everything goes away."
"Every child deserves a forever family," says Gilliland. "And they deserve to be able to go home to a mom and a dad at the end of the day and have that security and that love that other kids seem to have."
For more information on adopting, visit AdoptChildren.org