This year, National Adoption Day in Tarrant County will take place on November 17th at the downtown Family Law Center where superheroes, attorneys, and cape wielding volunteers will assist in creating an atmosphere of absolute joy as 59 children join their forever families. The following is the story of one of those families.
Jessica, 32 and Johnathan Pounds, 30 were married in 2008 after meeting each other while both serving in the U.S. Navy. They were both assigned to different ships and sometimes would pass each other out at sea while one ship was leaving and another was returning.
Wanting to build their family and be home to enjoy it, Jonathan and Jessica both completed their enlistments and headed to live in Texas.
After trying for many years, they still did not have their family. The couple began looking into adoption but were overwhelmed with the costs that could be involved and began to lose hope that they would ever have a family.
Then, in November of last year, they found out that an 11-year-old nephew of theirs was in foster care.
They did not know much about the situation because his parents had been estranged from the family for many years, but they did know that this was the third time he had been removed by CPS.
Without hesitation, the two looked at each other and said that they needed to provide a home for him and they wanted to adopt him.
The Pounds let his CPS caseworker know that they were interested in adopting him and the caseworker set up a friendly meeting at a local fast food restaurant and it went well! The couple says that they were surprised how well he was doing considering the circumstances he had been in. They described knowing that this whole time God had a hedge of protection around him and that his foster parents must have been working really closely with him to overcome some of his setbacks.
After a home study and a gracious judge, their nephew was finally able to move in with them. Having legal custody of him, they could make medical and educational decisions for him.
They began working right away to begin the adoption process.
Everything was so overwhelming at first, but the Pounds describe having a wonderful CPS Kinship worker provided by DFPS. She let them know about certain benefits he was entitled to and made sure that they understood the process as they moved forward.
The couple chose Covenant Kids, as their adoption licensing agency and hit the ground running. In between classes, inspections, home studies, and paperwork with Covenant Kids, the family also had monthly visits with their nephew’s CPS caseworker, CPS kinship caseworker, and his CASA Advocates.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. They would visit him at home or meet him at school for lunch. These wonderful volunteers provided their time to advocate for his interests in court and in school. It was touching to see how much they really cared about him and that he was doing so well in his new home.
The couple states that their son has been the family’s greatest blessing and that they feel adopting their nephew out of foster care is the most important thing they have ever done in their lives.
In August of 2017, 29,954 children were in foster care in the state of Texas, and 8,055 were free for adoption. Of those, 4,727 children were not in a permanent placement or a placement that intended to adopt. At that time, Tarrant County had 1,155 children in foster care and 277 were free for adoption with 216 of them needing adoptive homes.
These staggering numbers show the deep need for more foster and adoptive homes. For more information you can visit www.ourcommunity-ourkids.org. If this is something you don’t feel you can do at this time, maybe you can volunteer with CASA and take time to speak up for a child in court. For more information you can visit www.speakupforachild.org.
For more information, contact:
Jennifer Sterling, LMSW
Co-Chair, Tarrant County National Adoption Day