By Wesley Martin
Families First Network of Lakeview hosted the second annual “Footprints to a Forever Family” 1.5 mile walk and picnic last Saturday morning, November 3, at the University of West Florida.
The event, also sponsored by Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities, Children’s Home Society, Guardian Ad Litem, Gulf Coast Kids House and the Florida Department of Children and Families, highlights the importance of adoption.
“November is National Adoption Month so we wanted to celebrate that and celebrate adoptive families by having the adoption walk,” said Peggy Custred, Associate Adoption Coordinator for Families First Network. “We were honoring families who have adopted internationally as well as families who have adopted through private attorney or private agencies as well as families who adopt through foster care.”
“We want people to know that we do have many waiting children in this area,” she continued. “We have almost 50 waiting children who are legally free for adoption but who don’t have identified families. Across the state there are over 800 waiting children and across the country there are over 100,000 children waiting for adoptive families.”
According to Custred, some families are hesitant to adopt due to two main misconceptions. One: they believe teenagers or older children don’t want to be adopted. Two: they believe adoption is expensive.
“People may not realize that older children still want to be adopted,” Custred said. “They think that at [age] 18 they don’t need a family. But we’re looking for families for a lifetime for children.”
Custred admitted that though it’s easier to place infants than older children, all children need care.
She also noted that sometimes adoption doesn’t cost anything depending on the agency, like at Families First.
“It doesn’t cost anything at all to adopt through us,” Custred said.
Children, adopted through Families First are afforded free and full medical coverage and receive free college tuition to any public university in Florida. Also, Custred noted, adopted children receive an adoption subsidy up until age 18. For more information on Florida adoption or foster care, please call 453-7745 or visit familiesfirstnetwork.org

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