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10 November 1 - 14, 2008
Community
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Adoption from Page 1
“The fi rst girl we fostered was with us for 22 months “We belong to the Arizona Association of Foster and
before going to an adoptive home,” Cathy Barto Adoptive Parents,” says Barto, “which has resources,
recalls. “Leaving our fi rst foster daughter at her new support groups and member benefi ts. Our licensing
adoptive home was bittersweet. We knew this was the agency, Arizona Adoption and Foster Care, provides
perfect family for her, yet it was painful to give her up. ongoing training and many social activities throughout
At her adoption hearing, celebration and for about the year.”
two days afterwards, I cried. Two years later, we know Another myth Reck wants to dispel is that only
we made the right choice for her. She has an amazing wealthy or traditional parents can adopt or offer foster
family that is perfect for her.” care to children in the state system.
Providing foster care proved to be a very positive “You don’t have to be rich,” Reck explains. “And
experience for the entire Barto family, which includes you don’t have to be married with the perfect house in
three biological children: a 12-year-old daughter and the right neighborhood. We have lots of single parents,
two sons, ages 22 and 26. The family agreed to take in STSN photo by Shannon Lista lots of couples who both work. The important thing is
Meg after she was removed from her previous home
NEW FAMILY: Cathy and Matt Barto of Chandler play a game with
that you are ready to love a child who needs love.”
in October 2006.
their biological child, Helen, 12, and soon-to-be adopted daughter
The criteria for becoming a foster parent or adopting
“Meg.” State regulations prohibit showing faces of children in the
“Meg was with us for 16 months when it was clear
foster or adoption system.
a child are relatively simple. Applicants must be
she was going to be available for adoption,” says older than 21, married or single, fi nancially stable,
Barto. When all parental rights were severed by the Director Marcia Reck encourages others families to emotionally ready for parenting and in reasonably
court earlier this year, Cathy and Matt petitioned to follow the Barto’s lead in taking in a child who needs good health. Petitioners must also pass a background
formally adopt the little girl who had found a special a “forever” home. check to assure the children will be placed in a safe
place in their hearts as well as their home. “There are more than 9,700 children in out-of- environment.
“She has lived with us now for two years,” Barto home care in Arizona,” says Reck. “Right now, there “Right now,” Reck reports, “our biggest need is for
says. “Each child’s case is different, and we knew we are 15 children in Maricopa alone who are legally families who can take in males, children over age 8,
were the family for her.” cleared and awaiting adoptive homes.” African-American children and sibling groups who we
Taking in a child who has been in the system can Reck worries that many people are hesitant to want to be placed together.”
bring challenges. Most of these children have been apply to become foster or adoptive parents because of Cathy Barto hopes marking National Adoption Day
abused emotionally or physically, or are suffering common misconceptions about the process. on Nov. 15 will spread awareness about the need for
health issues. Meg was no different, presenting various “People hear about private adoptions and think foster homes and adoptive parents.
issues, but the Bartos say it has been well worth the adopting costs thousands of dollars,” Reck says. “But “I’m not saying everyone is cut out to do this, but
struggle. it literally does not cost anything to adopt through you won’t know if you don’t at least get informed,”
“Meg was a very diffi cult child because of her past AAFC, not a dime.” she says. “My advice is that if you are a teeny bit
history,” says Barto. “She challenged us to learn how All legal costs are covered by the state, and foster curious about being a foster/adoptive parent, check
to parent a wounded child. We have all grown so and adoptive parents receive other services for the it out. There are many licensing agencies which offer
much in the past two years.” children, such as medical care, counseling and a monthly, no-obligation meetings explaining the
monthly subsidy to help defray other costs until the details.”
Seeking “forever” homes child reaches age 18. There are also nonprofi t groups
Arizona Adoption and Foster Care Executive that help families deal with related issues. See Adoption Page 11
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