NASHVILLE, Tenn. — November is National Adoption Month and hundreds of school-age children in Middle Tennessee are waiting to be adopted.
"What these children need is a loving and stable home, a place where they know that this is unconditional love," Stephanie Shivers said. Shivers is the assistant director at Bethany Christian Services in Nashville.
Right now there are between 8,000 and 9,000 children in Tennessee's foster care system.
"We need more families to step up and commit to providing a home for a child," Shivers said.
The agency has seen the number of children in foster care increase in recent years. Nationally, the leading reasons are parental neglect and drug use.
"Do [these children] have trauma? Absolutely...but what research shows is it takes one caring adult in the life of the child to change their trajectory," Shivers said. "It's a lot to say yes to a calling like this, but at the same time it's such a tangible need to provide a home for a child that doesn't have it."
Not every child in foster care has a goal of adoption, but of the children that are typically waiting to be adopted, roughly 70% are six-years-old or older, according to Child Trends.
No more than 2% of Americans have adopted, yet one in three people have considered it, according to Bethany Christian Services. The adoption agency wants families on the fence about adoption to get educated.
"Let's take the first step, send in the application and see what happens. Let's take the next step to do the home study and see what happens. Let's complete the home study and see what happens. More times than not, when they go through the steps we see families come together," Shivers said.
Visit Bethany.org/Nashville or call (615) 242-0909 for more information about adoption in Middle Tennessee.