Having adopted almost a dozen children and fostering more than 30, Lamont Thomas recently adopted five siblings so the children could remain together. Thomas is a single dad living in Buffalo, New York, and having fought for almost three years to adopt all five children, Thomas is happy to “make a difference by being a difference for these youth.”
Thomas’ story is similar to Guy Bryant’s, another single dad in New York who fostered over 50 young men. Bryant purposefully took in the older children, as he did not wish for them to be left without a home. The admirable actions of Thomas and Bryant are demonstrative of the work that can be done to reach out to kids in foster care, awarding them with the bright future they deserve.
Unfortunately, what happens with youth that are in foster care, they carry that with them a lot of times and then they have no place to go and they end up in the shelters…[m]ost of the kids, they can’t admit who they are. Their identity is lost somewhere between the home they’ve lived in and the other 10 foster homes they might have lived in.
In the United States, over 400,000 children reside within the foster care system, with only 28% of them being eligible for adoption. These children are often at serious risk, with a quarter of them becoming homeless, only 50% completing high school, and 27% of males and 10% of females being incarcerated at least once.
Oklahoma recently took measures to improve the system, with the Department of Human Services hiring 840 new case workers, enhancing safety practices, and placing children into kinship foster homes. These types of positive changes can greatly impact the system.
As we work to improve the system, more people like Thomas and Bryant are needed to improve the lives of these children by providing them with a loving home.