Jayden's smile is definitely contagious. And he smiles, despite some of the challenges life has already thrown his way.
Jayden is an engaging 10-year old, and is one of Iowa's ‘Waiting Children.' Jayden is ready and waiting. He wants, needs and certainly deserves the love and stability of a family he can finally call his own.
Jayden says he wants a family to be there for him. He says that means, "People can care for me. It means they will listen to when I need help and when I'm hurt. People with siblings that I can actually interact with and have fun with."
"I think they're going to like his personality and sense of humor the best," says Waterloo Columbus grad Lacey Pavlovec, who is Jayden's counselor through L-S-I--Lutheran Services in Iowa and IowaKidsNet.
"Jayden's a very outgoing kid. He's intelligent. He's fun. Energetic. Loving. He's a definite role model for his peers. He's so helpful and he enjoys any opportunity just to help people and bring a smile to their face, just like he always has."
Jayden asks a potential family to consider this: He says, "I think you should adopt me because I'm really good with other kids and other people who want to play with me."
Many Iowa families work with IowaKidsNet. Iowa KidsNet is a statewide collaboration of agencies which utilizes a unique, cohesive approach to provide recruitment, training, licensing and continued support to individuals who wish to become foster and adoptive parents.
IowaKidsNet is a partnership of Iowa social service agencies, including Four Oaks, Children's Square USA, Family Resources, LSI, Quakerdale and affiliate Youth and Shelter Services. For more information, call 1-800-243-0756. November is National Adoption month.
"Every child deserves to have a permanent connection to a caring and supportive adult," says Kelli Malone, Iowa KidsNet project director.
Malone says, "Each year about 26,000 youth turn 18 and age out of foster care without having permanent family connections. This November we urge more Iowans to consider becoming foster or adoptive parents, especially for older youth, or find ways to raise awareness in their own communities about the needs of Iowa children in foster care."
According to the Iowa Department of Human Services, as of August 2012, there were about 765 children in Iowa who were legally eligible for adoption, meaning parental rights had been terminated.
Many of these children already have an adoptive home identified with a relative or a foster family, while others are still waiting for an adoptive home.
On March 31, 2012, there were approximately 6,100 Iowa children in foster care, which includes placements in non-relative foster homes, relative foster care, group homes, institutional care, supervised independent living or on trial home visits.
More foster and adoptive parents who can care for teenagers, sibling groups and children with special needs are urgently needed, said Malone. There is also a large need for more African American and Latino foster and adoptive families.
In all Iowa counties, including Black Hawk County, Iowa KidsNet offers free post-adoption support services for families who have adopted a child through the Iowa Department of Human Services.
Of the 104,000 children in the U.S. waiting to be adopted from foster care, some will wait five years or more to be adopted, a lifetime to a child.
To learn more about foster care, Iowa's 'Waiting Children' and adoption, contact IowaKidsNet at 1-800-243-0756, or online at: www.iowakidsnet.com.
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