Even teens need parents.

Though they push boundaries and strive for independence, teenagers crave and deserve a place to call home and a network of supportive, loving people who have their back for the long haul.

During National Adoption Month in November, we make a special effort to honor those families who choose to give the gift of a permanent family to teens, children and infants who desperately need someone in their corner and a place that is home until they can create a home of their own.

By the end of this year in Hennepin County, we expect that more than 200 infants, children and teenagers will begin their new lives with families who have made a commitment to support them for a lifetime. Hennepin County Juvenile Court will finalize their adoptions and they will become permanent forever families. In some cases, these children will gain new siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunties, uncles, friends and neighbors as well. In others, they are just moving to different homes within their own families.

Teens face special barriers to finding permanent families, for many reasons. When a family commits to a teen by adoption, they are continuing a process of helping the young person heal from abuse, neglect and trauma. The teen will also have a chance to experience the love and support of parents and family members who can see them through the joys and travails of the teen years, attend their school plays, band concerts, athletic events and more. That familiar face smiling back at them affirms that nothing is more important to that adult than they are at that moment.

A family does not need to be perfect to adopt. An adoptive family’s success has very little to do with income, cars or a fancy home but instead has everything to do with consistency and lifelong commitment and love. The family must uphold, support and respect the teen’s culture and lived experience.

With our private-sector partners, we work hard to find the right fit, the right family to foster and sometimes adopt children and teens who need them.

Adoption isn’t for every family – there are many ways to support young people in our communities. However, for those families who choose adoption, know that your commitment, love and support benefit the child, our community and society. For your service and generosity of spirit, I thank you.

Learn more about foster care and adoption in Hennepin County at www.hennepin.us/fostercare.

Jodi Wentland is Assistant County Administrator of Human Services at Hennepin County.

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