Faithandthelaw's Blog

The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

Adoption waiting list gets shorter in Colorado

Posted by faithandthelaw on March 18, 2010

ARAPAHOE COUNTY – More Coloradans are answering the call to help kids find families. In the last five years, the number of Colorado kids waiting to be adopted had dropped by more than half.

“The international market has narrowed, and so a lot of families, due to the recession and other matters, aren’t going overseas to adopt. Some of those families are now coming to the public system,” Dr. Sharen Ford said.

Ford oversees the adoption and foster care programs at the Colorado Department of Human Services. She says in 2004 there were 875 children and youth in our state waiting to be adopted. This year that number is down to 365. The goal, in the next five years, is to lower that number to almost none.

Another significant reason for the improving numbers is government partnership with faith-based groups. The Radford family’s story is an example of that.

“My real dream is to play for the Denver Nuggets,” Darius Cowans-Radford said as he pointed to the plethora of team paraphernalia in his bedroom. In this and many other ways, he’s a typical teenage boy. In other ways, he’s not.

“For the first eight years of my life, I lived with my grandma. My dad wasn’t all there. He had problems. He was in prison, along with my mother,” Cowans-Radford said.

To see him now at 16 years old, laughing with a new family, the challenges he has faced aren’t obvious.

“Around the age of 2 I was diagnosed with leukemia,” Cowans-Radford said.

He beat the cancer, but was diagnosed with a different kind, Rhabdomyosarcoma, at age 12, while he was bouncing in and out of foster homes.

“I was really sick at the time, and they didn’t really know how to deal with that,” Cowans-Radford said about some of his foster parents.

He needed a miracle, and one arrived after his story was printed in a church bulletin.

“For us it really was a huge leap of faith. It was just knowing in our hearts that this is what was supposed to be,” Celeste Radford said.

She and her husband Rowland Radford responded to the call in that bulletin at the Colorado Community Church in Aurora. The church operates an adoption program called Project 1:27 to recruit and prepare parents to take in local kids in need of new families.

When Darius moved in with the Radford family, there was an adjustment period.

“When I first got here, I wasn’t sure how to handle structure, so we butted heads a little bit. But then after awhile I understood,” Cowans-Radford said.

For Celeste Radford it became life’s way of coming full circle. She chose to give her first child up for adoption 22 years ago when she was too young to be a mom.

“It was a really difficult time in my life. I was really conflicted,” Celeste Radford said. “Here I was pregnant and not married and not living the life that I had hoped or dreamed or planned or thought.”

Her family became complete just last month when Darius’s adoption into the Radford family was finalized at the Arapahoe County courthouse.

“It gave me hope that not everything in my life was falling apart,” Cowans-Radford said.

He now has a mom and dad and three sisters. He’s cancer-free again and is planning to go to college in a couple years. His life is coming together. Finally, in many more ways, he’s a typical teenage boy.

State adoption advocates want people to know that adopting a kid locally costs only hundreds of dollars, compared to thousands for international adoption. Kids adopted in the United States often get federal health care, and there are other state and county services to support adoptive families.

To learn more about adopting in Colorado, visit cdhs.state.co.us/childwelfare/Adoption.htm  

To learn more about the Project 1:27 adoption program at Colorado Community Church visit www.project127.com.  

Courtesy of http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=134655&catid=339

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