Are You My Family?

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Did you know there are about 10,000 children in Arizona's foster care system? To me, this is shocking. And it's become even more surprising now that I've gotten to know some of the kids.

It was about a year ago when I heard 3TV was going to begin the "Are You My Family" segment. I can't really explain why, but I was immediately interested. The stories are a collaboration between 3TV, AASK and The Fore Foundation. AASK stands for Aid to Adoption of Special Kids. They locate a child every other week for us to feature in the on-air segment. Usually it's a child who has been in the foster care system a little longer than the others, or may have special needs. The Fore Foundation was created by PGA golfer Kirk Triplett and his wife Cathi. They adopted two children and want to help other Arizona families experience the same joy they have.

It's been a year now, and through the "Are You My Family" segments, we have found 13 children homes. Some of those children were featured in the on-air segments, but others were simply profiled on azfamily.com. At the end of each story on a local child looking for a home, I encourage viewers to check out our website to learn more about adoption and the other kids who need a home. Apparently, it's working!

I am so happy that people are responding to this segment. I wish everyone had a chance to go spend a day with these kids as I have. It's not their fault they're in foster care. They have such amazing attitudes, despite what they've been through. Because of a shortage of foster homes, many of the boys live in group homes. They want a real family and a real home more than anything. During a taping we did in December, one of the little boys told me he'd like a Nintendo and some video games for Christmas, but more than anything he just wanted a family. Another little boy told me he wish he could win the lottery so he could *buy a family. It's not often that the kids actually mention their family situation. We usually just try to talk to them about their hobbies, their school, etc. But every once in a while, it comes through just how desperate these kids are to have a normal life.

Just this morning, I found out that two more children featured on 3TV found homes. I am overjoyed at this news, but still sad when I think of the kids who are still waiting.
Their profiles are still on the website. If you or someone you know might be interested in adoption, please take a minute to read them. I hope people will keep an open mind too about the age of kids they might adopt. The older boys have been some of the most caring kids I've ever met. Check out John, a sweet young boy who's been in foster care way too long. His CPS worker says he would adjust well to a new family because he would be so appreciative; he's been wanting a family for so long. Check out Austin, a boy who has more personality than any 11-year old I've ever met. Or Dakota, who's sense of humor will keep *you smiling. Or Cleo and Robby, the two brothers who will do anything to stay together.

In the next year of this program, I'm looking forward to bringing viewers more stories of boys and girls who need a family, but also beginning to tell some of the success stories of families who've adopted the children from these segments. The "Are You My Family" stories air every other Wednesday night on Good Evening Arizona, but the videos are also available on azfamily.com/somethinggood. Please take a moment to check them out.