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Sugar House Journal

Rotary Club of Sugar House Adoption Awareness event brings families together

Aug 01, 2018 12h03 ● By Jana Klopsch

Rotary members serve food at the 2017 Adoption Awareness event. (Courtesy Rotary Club of Sugar House)

By Lori Gillespie | [email protected] 

The Rotary Club of Sugar House will hold their annual Adoption Awareness event on Thursday, August 2, 2018. The Rotary Club has been holding this event for eight years and serves to bring children waiting for families together with families looking to adopt. Families that are invited to the event have already been pre-qualified, and they come to the event looking to adopt kids who are a little bit older.  

There are consistently around 150 kids in the foster care system who will not return home or will not be adopted by foster families and have been in the care of Division of Child and Family Services for two years or longer.

“These are the kids who have fallen through the cracks. There is a myth that these kids are in the foster care system because of something they have done, but these kids that are in there are there typically because of abuse or neglect,” said Kathy Searle, director of programs with The Adoption Exchange.

The kids who attend the event are hard to place and the Rotary Club of Sugar House provides a space that makes it easier to start.

 “We love the partnership with Rotary, they provide the food for us and the volunteers, so we can allocate our funds to other projects,” Searle continued. “The first year of the Adoption Awareness event, we had 12 waiting kids attend, and last year we had 42. The kids ranged in ages from 9 all the way up to 20.”

This year to make it more intimate and age focused, the adoptable children will be in the 9-13 age group, with siblings who may be younger. They are planning new adoption programs, more along the lines of speed-dating, for the teenagers and young adults.

The event focuses on fun. The Sugar House Rotary provides hot dogs, chips and drinks. They have had popcorn machines and bounce houses. Last year, they brought a Lego car assembly and race track, which was a fantastic way for the adoptable children and interested parents to interact while building and racing the car. The kids also receive a goodie bag filled with gift certificates and school supplies.

Margie Waltz, president of the Sugar House Rotary Club, said, “This event is a great way for families looking to adopt to meet the adoptable kids. It jumpstarts the process of adoption and our numbers show that many of the adoptable kids who come to our event are eventually placed with their new families. This is what is so exciting, because these are kids that are older or hard to place.”

The evening provides a chance for everyone to hang out, and the kids often don’t even realize the impression they are making on everyone just by being themselves.

“I’m so glad that our event helps to facilitate the introductions and allows them to hang out in a place that is fun,” said Waltz. “It’s just become aware to us this past year just how successful this event has been over the years.”

It takes a tremendous effort by DCFS and the Adoption Exchange to place these kids, and The Rotary Club of Sugar House is happy to be the stepping stone to start that process.

“It is incredibly inspiring to know that these children are going to find a home,” said Waltz.

If you are interested in becoming an adoptive family, or you want to become involved with either the Sugar House Rotary or the Adoption Exchange, you can find more information at the following.