ST. LUCIE WEST — Despite some hefty obstacles thrown up by Mother Nature, the Forever Family program continues to highlight the lives and stories of local children looking for adoptive homes.
And it’s doing a pretty good job of it.
The program, which leverages the power of local media to help find adoptive homes for children, pivoted from on-site video shoots to Zoom-based interviewing last spring after the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
Since then, the adoption dreams of 11 Treasure Coast and Okeechobee children have been featured locally on CBS-Channel 12 News and in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale markets on NBC 6 South Florida.
More than 80 people have inquired about adopting them. Most of those who inquire are just beginning the adoption process. But many already are screened, have received and passed a home study and are ready to move forward.
“COVID-19 has impacted so much of our community, and for children in foster care, it’s one more trauma in their lives,” said Christina Kaiser, community relations director for Communities Connected for Kids, the organization that oversees the child-welfare system in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties.
“Children still need homes,” she said. “So we were very happy when Forever Family and News Channel 12 decided to carry on virtually.”
The program also has featured several stories about foster care, foster parents and the special needs of some adoptive families.
Most recently, Forever Family produced a segment about the local Keen family, who are in the process of adopting a young boy with special needs.
News Channel 12 aired the segment, and Forever Family set up a fundraiser to help pay for a wheelchair-accessible van for the St. Lucie County family of seven.
“Unfortunately, the van we got when we started fostering can’t fit a wheelchair and five children,” said Savanah Keen, who, with husband Michael, has four other children, including a teenager adopted from the foster-care system.
So far, the program has raised more than $4,000 for the family.
Gia Tutalo-Mote, program founder, said 100% of all proceeds will go to the family. Those interested in learning more about the Keens and the fundraiser set up for them can visit ForeverFamily.org.
And tune in every Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the latest Forever Family segment.
Interested in learning more about adoption? Click here to learn more, or email your inquiries to email@example.com.