The Importance Of Adoption

"Every Child Deserves A Home"

The+Heart+Gallery+of+Central+Texas
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The Importance Of Adoption

The Heart Gallery of Central Texas

The Heart Gallery of Central Texas

Photographed by Yvonne Tomlinson

The Heart Gallery of Central Texas

Photographed by Yvonne Tomlinson

Photographed by Yvonne Tomlinson

The Heart Gallery of Central Texas

Brianna O'Callaghan, Reporter

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Wearing a blue jean jacket and navy dress, junior Myraisha Gibson smiles to the camera with her hands interlaced on her lap. “Age sixteen, loves going to the movies, and a teen mom.” Above her picture, ‘Heart Gallery: Every child deserves a home’.

Over 30,000 kids are in foster care in Texas making these numbers twice or even five times the amount in other states in the United States. Of those kids who are looking for the home that they deserve is Gibson.  

“You have to do things for yourself, and I learned this when I went into the foster care system,” Gibson said. “Who I rely on the most is myself. Relying on other people is going to get me nowhere. If you can’t do it for yourself then no one will do it for you.”

There are over 170 foster kids in The Woodlands and only about 120 foster homes for them. This leaves kids living in shelters, group homes, or even residential care centers when they are not placed within 30 days of their last home.

“The most challenging thing about being in foster care is not knowing where you will go next or if you will have a stable living place,” Gibson said. “I have been moved 9 times. I have had 3 foster parents and the rest have been shelters that I have been to.”

There are roughly 200,000 girls in foster care in the United States. Out of those, 33% of them are likely to get pregnant before their 19th birthday. Though some get custody of their child, the majority of these teen moms have their children taken by Child Protective Services because of their home situation.

“When I came into care with my daughter, it made me wake up and think, ‘Hey you need to do better for your child,’” Gibson said. “I had my daughter, Jalaya when I was 13. I went into foster care because the living place that I was at before I had my daughter wasn’t stable for us. I later went to a group home because they couldn’t find me and my daughter a placement, so we had to be separated for 9 months, placed with my aunt. I felt like things wouldn’t get better until I had my other half back.”

There are many foster care programs that actively help children in the system including but not limited to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Preparation for Adult Living (PAL), and Angel Reach. These organizations help with the everyday needs of foster care children and even help when a child is placed out of the system.  

“Some of the programs are good like CASA,” Gibson said. “My CASA helps me with everything that my caseworker doesn’t. To me they go above and beyond for me, helping with getting me clothes, sending me gift cards, and making sure I have everything I need not just physically but emotionally as well. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for her, I would be somewhere in this world doing things I’m not supposed to be doing,” Gibson said. “Another program that is good is the PAL program. It teaches you about job applications, resumes, housing, college, and so much more.”

Education can be affected by the foster care system. Moving schools, or even counties, and having to make new friends and relationships with others can be hard.

“I plan on going to a trade school and getting my cosmetology license and then going to college to have my own business,” Gibson said. “Foster care hasn’t really interfered with my learning because they know how important it is for me to be educated because I have my daughter. Having a child makes me want to do even better in school and be the best that I can for her.”

One thing that all foster kids have is a social worker. These are people who help kids in the system with behavioral, mental, and emotional issues. 

“Some of the struggles I have are wondering if my caseworker will answer the phone or people that care for me will help me with my child in getting the things that she needs,” Gibson said.

Though there are some negatives to the foster care system, there are some positives as well. Almost half reunite with a family member or guardian after aging out, around 8% are emancipated, and a fourth is adopted. 

“I want to let all the foster kids know that it’s okay to be in care; you will find your way out and you can do better, whatever your situation may be,” Gibson said. “You got this. If no one else believes in you, I do because I know from experience that you can change and become something in life.”