MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ky. (KT) – In a milestone year, Sunrise Children’s Services has even more to celebrate.
The Christian organization that is celebrating its 150th year of working with Kentucky’s most vulnerable children, announced that they have seen 500 children go from foster care to adoption since 2006 when Kentucky began licensing outside organizations.
In the last fiscal year, Sunrise has seen 62 adoptions, an all-time best, said Lani Crume, Sunrise’s Foster Care Recruitment Administrator. She credited some of that success to foster care and adoption advocate Gov. Matt Bevin’s support and cutting red tape from the adoption process.
But there’s work to do and a lot of it, Crume said. More than 125,000 children are waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States and 2,949 of those can be found in Kentucky alone. Nearly 10,000 Kentucky children have been removed from homes to keep them safe and protected.
Sunrise is caring for more than 1,000 individuals through its programs that go from east to west in Kentucky.
“That’s why receiving and surpassing this 500 mark means so much to the Sunrise staff,” said Sunrise Foster Care Director Kellie Neal. “This is a proud Sunrise moment.”
Kentucky Baptist churches have played a large role in Sunrise’s success by embracing James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Macedonia Baptist Church in Kuttawa, Kentucky, is an example of a faith community embracing James 1:27. Macedonia Pastor Bryan Grigg and wife, Krista, faithfully accepted the challenge to care for children in crisis. Four other families in the church joined them and these five families, working with Sunrise, provided 11 children with a forever family through adoption.
“Thirty-one children in the past four to five years have found someone to love them, teach them, encourage them and share Christ with them within the membership of Macedonia Baptist Church,” said Sunrise Director of Faith Based Initiatives Bruce Treon. “A culture of foster and adoptive care lives on at Macedonia, and I’m convinced that God desires to do the same in your church and perhaps in your life today!”
The 500 adoptions shows the agency has moved forward and helped create those forever families, Crume said. “Foster care, a few years ago, was keeping children temporarily and that’s where the state was looking as well.”
Sunrise supports the foster care-to-adoption plan. “Most of the time, the average is about two years (in foster care). Once in that long, a new family is established.”
Sunrise has 213 children in foster care and another 13 in foster-to-adoption, Crume said.
“All of our parents, when they start with Sunrise, we train them as foster parents,” she said. “They may say, ‘I want an 8-year-old boy to complete my family.’ We train them like everybody else. Once they get to that adoption stage, they have everything they need.”
Crume said the cost of adoption from foster care is “virtually free. It’s very inexpensive as far as other means of adopting. We pay to train, pay for background checks. If there’s any cost, it’s the legal fees at the end of adoption and those are very minimal. It’s a great way to add to the family at very little cost.”
When interviewing potential foster parents, if they ask about how much they get paid, it’s a red flag, Crume said.
“The theme of adoption is woven throughout scripture, serving to not only strengthen our faith but to also encourage us as we press into the needs of waiting children around the world,” said Kenny Williams, Sunrise’s Vice President of Community Based Services. “The nature of the gospel is clear – through His pleasure and will, God has set His radical love on us through the sacrifice of His own Son before we breathed our first breath or had the ability to do anything that might endear ourselves to Him. What a marvel of God’s love on our behalf!”
Anyone interested in Sunrise Children’s Services can call 855-33-iCARE or visit sunrise.org/foster-care