Kendra loves movies and basketball. Dustin wants to be a paramedic. Amber has visions of becoming a country singer in Nashville. Rusty describes himself as an active person who likes hands-on activities and likes building things. David desires to be a NASCAR driver or mechanic, while his brother, Adam, says he enjoys basketball, skateboarding and eating. And Tony? Well, “I dream of becoming a pro fisherman,” he says.
These are all future aspirations. Right now, and most of all, these seven children would just like to have a permanent family and a home to call their own. And, in the case of twins David and Adam, the brothers want to be adopted together. “My brother is my best buddy,” says Adam. “I’m like the leaf, he’s like the stem. He’s like my heart and soul. I love him.”
The public will have a chance to get to know these children better in a special event called the Village Adoption Connection, scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, at First Baptist Church in downtown Asheville. The event, the fourth so far in the past two years, is sponsored by Under One Sky, a nonprofit dedicated to finding permanent families for older youth in foster care. Through camp-based programming, Under One Sky prepares these youth for adoption, teaches them life and work skills, encourages their emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth, and provides them with a consistent, safe and loving community of other youth, mentors and caring adults.
Those who attend the event won’t actually get to meet the children, whose ages range from 12 to 15. Instead, they will be introduced through the kids’ self-produced DVDs, and get a chance to talk to their social workers and people chosen by the children to represent them and speak on their behalf, says Under One Sky Executive Director Diane Delafield.
In addition to being introduced to the children, those who attend will learn about all the ins and outs of adoption. And, unlike adopting infants, adopting teens is relatively straightforward and nearly cost-free, says Delafield. She adds that adoptive parents are also eligible to receive monthly financial assistance and state subsidized Medicaid for adoptees up until their 18th birthday.
“These are kids who really want to change the course of their lives,” says Delafield. “We’ve had kids say to us, ‘I know that with parents I could fulfill my potential. I know I could end up being a good person, a successful person. I could go to college. I could fulfill my dream.’”
For more information and to register, visit www.under1sky.org or call 251-9703.