The holiday season is here, which usually means a lot of family time and togetherness. But for the over 440,000 kids in foster care in the United States, family time can seem like a far-off dream.
While many of us picture young children when we think of those in need of adoption, the truth is that teenagers are in desperate need of adoption as well. In fact, 23,000 kids “age out” of foster care at the age of 18 each year, with 20% of them becoming instantly homeless as a result.
A new PSA from the Ad Council heartbreakingly highlights this pressing issue and draws attention to the thousands of teens who have no place to call home. November is National Adoption Month, so there’s no better time to bring light to this issue and educate people on how they can help teens in need in their own communities.
Watch the short PSA below (but you may want to grab some tissues first):
In the video, we see a teenage boy take his first steps into a new family’s home. He notices pictures hanging on the wall of the smiling family — the mom, the dad and their two kids — before being led to his room. As the days progress, we watch the young teen become acquainted with his new family, from playing soccer to having ice cream to sharing family dinner. In the end, we see him notice that his picture is now included on the wall of family photos.
It’s a touching video with a simple message: Teenagers are kids, too, and they need families desperately. Adopting a teenager can be just as rewarding as adopting a young child, and although their needs might be different, one need is the same — their desire for love and acceptance in a family of their very own.
“Many parents have told us that adopting a teen has the added reward of knowing that not only did you choose them to be their child, they chose you to be their parents,” explains the AdoptUSKids website. “As we all know, you never outgrow the need for a family. Everyone needs a sense of belonging.”
If you want to help teens in foster care in your community, visit Adopt U.S. Kids. Even if you cannot foster or adopt a teenager, there are many ways you can help contribute to their well-being, from spending an afternoon with them to teaching life skills at a local community center.
We told you that you’d need those tissues.