“I am good and I have potential. I am worth it and I can be loved.”
That was the fundamental message for all those considering adopting children from the foster care system that keynote presenter Bobby Noreen, 18, shared at the 15th annual Celebrate Adoption: A Circus of the Heart event, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and its county, and private and nonprofit adoption agency partners in 2012. The event honored the 540 children adopted from the foster care system in 2012 and provided information to those considering adoption.
In his videotaped presentation, Noreen spoke of struggles, multiple foster home placements, and his eventual adoption at age 14. “Growing up in foster care is hard,” he said. “By the time I was 12, I convinced myself I was going to age out of the foster care system.”
Older youth like Noreen are in need of adopted families immediately. He said when he first met his now adoptive parents, he laughed and joked with them but thought, “Just another couple looking for a kid, but not a kid like me.”
But they were and they adopted him. “It is a good feeling to know (the adoptive family) are there for me no matter what. Every time I pushed and tested them, they would say, ‘Sorry, you’re stuck with us.’ In the last four years, my parents have supported me in everything.”
In high school, and since being adopted, Noreen lettered in football, wrestling and track, won multiple awards and has held a job since he was 16. After graduating high school, he began attending technical college.
He noted that some of his friends from previous foster homes and group homes have been waiting for families for years. He urged those in attendance to “take a chance on a waiting child.”
For more information about adopting children under state guardianship, contact your county social service agency, visit the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network’s website, www.mnadopt.org, or call 612-861-7115 or 866-303-6276.