Youth in foster care need permanent homes

Many Minnesotans might be surprised to learn that most children who are adopted in Minnesota today are not coming from China, Colombia, Malawi or India. They are children right in our own backyard.

Today, 905 of 10,000 children in foster care in Minnesota have an immediate need for a permanent and loving family. Almost 60% of children in foster care are siblings. They also tend to be older children.

Mike and Megan Nelson, who knew of the great need for foster families, decided to take a leap of faith and walk through the education and training involved to become foster parents. They were also open to adoption. As a blended family, the Nelsons have two older children at home and several adult children who are now on their own. With available space in their home, love for children and a willingness to learn, they knew they could make a difference. Last year, they opened their home to three sisters, ages 12 to 17, with whom they have developed a special bond. So special, that this month – National Adoption Month – the sisters are officially joining the Nelson family through adoption.

If you’ve ever wondered about adopting children from foster care, here’s what the Nelsons want you to know:

• All kids deserve to be loved and cherished in a family.

• Be ready to care for children with special needs. While children may have mental health, developmental or physical challenges, a wealth of resources are available to support families and help children succeed.

• It takes more than love. Time, patience and intention are needed to understand a child’s unique situation and provide support they need to thrive.

• Openness with biological family members, when that’s possible, provides opportunities for children to connect with their roots and enrich their lives.

• Adoption financial assistance is available to support children adopted from foster care until they reach age 18 or graduate from high school.

Our organizations at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Children’s Home Society of Minnesota have been working with families over decades to equip them with the education and support they need to welcome children into their homes and lives through foster care and adoption. For families who want to provide permanence for children in foster care, there is little-to-no cost for adoption and there is support available for the journey.

It takes a leap of faith to raise a child – whether they are coming to us biologically or through foster care adoption. If you’ve ever considered welcoming a child into your home as a foster or adoptive parent, we encourage you to learn more. All children need a loving family. These kids are depending on us.

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Children’s Home Society of Minnesota

The health of the planet

This, from the summary of the week’s weather on, on Sunday Nov. 17: “We’re just five weeks out from the end of fall, but it’s already feeling as brutally cold as the dead of winter in several locations across the United States. An Arctic blast shattered several record-low temperatures as it swept through the midwestern and eastern portions of the country, and the south was not spared.”

Remember? Oh, and the flood in Venice and wildfires in Australia. (We don’t have to think about those places because they’re not in America and anyway, own touchy wildfire season maybe just died down on the West Coast.)

On Dec. 6, another worldwide demonstration will be held, this one by a loose international organization called Extinction Rebellion (XR), whose hourglass in a circle symbol represents the urgency with which we must address the overload of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are building up to levels in our atmosphere that ecosystems as we know them cannot survive.

Weather plus weather plus weather equals climate. We’ve had a lot of weird weather in recent years, notably the long hard freeze at the beginning of hunting season. Weird weather plus weird weather plus weird weather equals climate change.

Yes, to the fellow who pulled over in front of the courthouse to over simply mansplain that “the climate has always been changing” during the Sept. 2019 student-led worldwide climate change action, indeed the climate has always been changing. What is different about the present swing toward a hotter and hotter planet (overall true despite our weird blasts of arctic cold in all months of the recent years) is that human activity has resulted in a dramatic uptick in the heating part of the heating and cooling cycle of the planet. We’re warming faster than we ever have before, toward the levels of greenhouse gases that existed during the Pleistocene Era that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago and which put an end to wooly mammoths, saber toothed tigers, mastodons, giant beavers. Also yes, another ice age may befall us, and perhaps if a warming, climate changing planet delays that inevitability to allow for life something like what we know to continue on our planet, bully for that little happy accident. But let’s not push our luck.

Ho hum, because I can handle rejection, I’ll be in front of the courthouse on Dec. 6 with yet another sign, asking you to think hard about whether God doesn’t actually help those who help themselves. And each other. Honk if you’d like your grandbabies to grow up on a healthy planet.

Marcia Baer, Aitkin

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