TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. — There are more than 415,000 children in the United States in the foster care system and nearly 8,000 of those children live in Tennessee.
November is National Adoption Month and several organizations are raising awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families.
Daniel and Veronica Maclin said it’s always a busy day in the Maclin house. The Brighton couple has seven biological daughters and one adopted daughter. The girls range from ages five to 24-year-old.
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“We have a lot that’s going on,” Veronica Maclin said. “We have the church, the girls on the praise dance team. We have the girls that are playing sports.”
Busy schedules and school activities have always been the norm for this family. For the past 17 years, the couple has fostered dozens of children. Veronica Maclin herself was in foster care at a young age until a relative took her in at ten-years-old.
“I was just blessed being placed in a position to where you know someone was willing to love me, take care of me and my siblings, willing to take us in,” Veronica Maclin said. “You know I was able to pass that same love, the same morals, the same qualities that I was being taught.”
Daniel Maclin agrees.
“A lot of people have negative thoughts about fostering and adopting,” Daniel Maclin explained. “All kids are not bad. They’re just looking for love. They’re looking for the stability. They want to know that someone is there for them and security.”
Currently, there are nearly 8,000 children in Tennessee who need a home.
Andrecia Gibbs is the Regional Manager for Memphis Foster Care and Adoptions Program with Youth Villages.
She said teenagers are often the hardest age group to get adopted.
“A lot of parents don’t really understand the teens as much,” Gibbs said. “Sometimes they may present more emotional and behavioral issues that sometimes deter foster families in being interested in those age groups.”
She said sibling groups also struggle.
“Sometimes we have families who are only interested in a certain age group and it’s difficult to keep those families together and keep those sibling groups together,” Gibbs said.
The Maclins hope their story will inspire other families to provide these children with a forever home.
“Just give the kids a chance,” Daniel Maclin said. “Don’t think of everything negative. Give them a chance. They’re just looking for love. That’s all.”
Youth Villages has information about requirements to be eligible to adopt a child on its website.