BATAVIA, Ohio (Aug. 26, 2014) — In the last two years, when Clermont County Job and Family Services began devoting a full-time person to recruiting adoptive families for older children, 5 children have found “forever families” – including three siblings who were placed with one family. Five more are awaiting adoption finalization.
Since October 2012, Sharon Wiesenhahn has been Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter for Clermont County. “Dave Thomas once said, ‘These children are not someone else’s responsibility. They are our responsibility.’ I believe that too. They come into the system through no fault of their own,” said Wiesenhahn. “There are so many myths about adopting older children in foster care, and part of my job is to help dispel that.”
The most insidious myth, she said, is that children are in foster care because of something they did, or that they are “bad kids.” But nothing could be further from the truth, she said. Currently, 4 in 10 children in foster care in Clermont County are there because of parental drug addiction, particularly heroin, said Tim Dick, Deputy Director at JFS.
To find prospective parents, Wiesenhahn first goes through the child’s files. “Is there someone in the child’s past who might be interested in adopting?” she said. “Sometimes it may be a relative who couldn’t do it a year ago but might be willing to do it now.”
She makes sure she gets to know the child. “What are they looking for? What is important to them? Where would they like to live?” That doesn’t mean she’ll be able to match all the child’s desires, but it gives her a starting point.