According to the Office of Administration for Children and Families, there are more than 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States right now. Through no fault of their own, these children, ranging from infant to teen, have found themselves having to rely on the kindness of strangers while their biological families get the help they need to bring their children home, or in most cases, until they are adopted. November is Adoption Awareness Month, and there are so many children in Southwest Michigan that need your help, either temporarily or otherwise.

The Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange, or MARE, is looking for help from current or potential foster families. Their website is full of resources to help you better understand your role as a foster family, what is required to qualify for the program, and post-adoption help to ease the possible transition in to permanency. According to the most recent numbers, there are currently 52 children in Southwest Michigan that need help finding their forever home, and just over 200 that need a temporary living situation.

But if you find you haven't the space, the time, or the resources to help a child in our community, there are still so many ways that you can help. For instance, the Kalamazoo Jaycees have a wonderful annual program called Duffle Bags of Love which collects necessities such as underwear, socks, outerwear, shoes, and backpacks and bags, and puts together individualized bags for children when entering a new home. The situation can be scary, and having something that is unequivocally theirs can mean so much.

If anything, lets raise the awareness that we've got some children to uplift in our community. Get more information on adoption resources, foster care, or the Kalamazoo Jaycee's Duffle Bags of Love program.

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