The other day I wrote about a little girl who’d been abandoned on a stranger’s porch. Thanks to lots of media attention, we now know who this little girl is. Her name is Zoe Brown. She’s four. Both of her parents have been arrested. She’s still in foster care, reportedly happy and healthy.
All of this is good.
In 2011, another local story caught the attention of people near and far: the story of the Bi-Lo Center baby. In this case, a woman gave birth to her baby in the restroom at the Bi-Lo Center, and left the baby in the toilet, where luckily it was found by housekeeping staff. Like the story of Zoe Brown, this is a heart-breaker. And like Zoe Brown, the Bi-Lo Center baby garnered lots of press. The Bi-Lo Center baby was placed into foster care and has since been adopted, and her birth mother plead guilty to child neglect and is serving her sentence.
All of this is good.
Here’s what’s still bugging me, though: In both of these cases, hundreds of people contacted local authorities, offering to adopt the child. Hundreds. And I know it’s because these stories pull at the heart strings, and that pull compels people to act. I get it. But if you’re willing and ready to jump up and adopt the Bi-Lo Center baby, Zoe Brown, or any other media sensation, you should be willing to adopt any child from foster care.
In the state of South Carolina, according to the Children’s Defense Fund, there are over 4,000 kids in foster care, at least 1/2 of whom are waiting and hoping to be adopted. There are over 4,000 kids with stories just as compelling as the Bi-Lo Center baby’s. There are 4,000 kids from situations like Zoe Brown’s. Remember Fred? He’s still in foster care, waiting to be adopted. Nationwide, there are over 400,000 children in foster care; of those, 130,000 are eligible and waiting to be adopted.
If those hundreds of people who called in offering a home to Zoe Brown would each follow through on that offer with a different child, imagine how many of our children could move from foster care into permanent loving homes!
It’s great when the media draws attention to the plight of abandoned children like Zoe Brown, but I just wish that people would recognize that, sensational though those stories might be, they are not all that unique. I wish people would remember that there are so many more children who need homes and that they would extend to one of those children the same offer they so readily extended to Zoe Brown and the Bi-Lo Center baby before her.