In recognition of National Adoption Month, Madison County Children Services is holding a 5K run/walk on Nov. 3.
The run will take place on the Prairie Grass Trail bike path in London. The event starts and finishes at the trailhead, located behind the Madison County Senior Center at 280 W. High St. Registration opens at 8:30 followed by the run at 9.
Pre-registration is $20 for ages 12 and older and free for children younger than 12 who are accompanied by a participating adult. To register for the event, go to http://co.madison.oh.us/djfs/adoption.html or call (740) 852-6053. Race day registration is $25.
Each participant will receive a t-shirt featuring pictures of local children awaiting adoption through the Madison County Department of Job and Family Services. Proceeds will go toward recruitment of adoptive families.
“For children in the foster care system waiting for adoptive families, it truly is a race for adoption, said Melissa Nunamaker, adoption assessor for Madison County Children Services.
Younger children long for mothers and/or fathers who will love, comfort and care for them so that they might experience happiness in childhood, she said. Older children hope to findforever homes before they emancipate from foster care so they will have a family with which to identify and look to for support as they transition into adulthood.
“Thousands of children lose this race each year and are never adopted prior to their emancipation, Nunamaker said.
Across the United States, approximately 180,000 children are waiting in foster care for adoptive families. Locally, Madison County Children Services is working to findforever homes for six children and young adults ranging in age from 7 to 20 years old. (The agency assists individuals who have developmental disabilities up to age 21.)
“When we have younger children available for adoption who have few or no disabilities, it isnt unusual for us to have 200 to 300 home studies with interested families, Nunamaker said.However, the older the child gets and if they have behavioral issues or disabilities, the fewer families we have to work with.
Nunamaker knows firsthand what it is like to be an adoptive parent. She and her husband are adoptive parents of six children with special needs. They also have three children of their own.
“My life is very, very stressful. The kids are very challenging. And its the single most rewarding thing in my life because somebodys got to do it. Somebodys got to parent these kids, she said.
"Its not about taking them in and molding them to your lifestyle. Its about being willing to do whatever it takes to mold your life around them.
For more information about adoption, call Children Services at (740) 852-6055. To read biographies of the children available for adoption in Madison County, go to http://co.madison.oh.us/djfs/adoption.html. Children Services also will have information available at the 5K registration site on Nov. 3.