GRAND SALINE, TEXAS - This week's CBS 19 Children are a Gift features a unique event in east Texas that helps connect foster children with prospective adoptive families. It’s appropriately called a “Match Party.” It’s a chance for families to meet face-to-face with many of the local youth waiting in foster care for a forever family.
This particular event is called “Ranch Day.” It’s been hosted by the Wills Point Rotary Club for three years at the Wits End Ranch in Grand Saline.
There are sounds of laughter and lots of smiles allowing the children to forget about their past, at least for one day.
“The beauty of this event is it’s a fun environment for the kids,” said Justin Beckham, a member of the Wills Point Rotary Club and a local attorney.
“Last year I was an Attorney At Litem for a pair of siblings and they met their forever family here right over there on the saw horses and they were adopted just last month.”
The ranch looks more like a playground than a former cattle field. It includes a zip line, games and small animals. The children were treated to hotdogs, popcorn and cookies.
“It’s really what it should all be about; the kids, the country and the magic of bring people together,” shared Julie Burch, Wits End Ranch owner.
One of the couples at the event seeking to adopt older children was Devon and Brad Carpenter.
“We are definitely interested in school-age children. We want them to make sure they know they can have a forever family no matter what age they are,” noted Devon.
Brad added, “It’s a great chance to see who the kids really are. They can come out here and let loose and just be kids.”
Devon and Brad entered the day with an open mind not knowing what to expect.
“It’s a little awkward, a little fun, a little excitement. It’s a little of, what’s next? It’s just a neat feeling to be here really,” commented Brad.
“You want to be what’s best for the children. You don’t want to interact too much or not enough and you want everyone to feel included,” acknowledged Devon looking around at all the foster children in attendance. “All of these children deserve a family!”
This Match Party allows prospective families to see past any labels, diagnosis or history that masks the personalities of each child and, in the end, it lets them realize that Children are a Gift.
Beckham said, “What people don’t know about adoption is a lot of times prospective families don’t meet the kids they are going to be matched with until they are already matched and this is a chance for people to just meet children in that place and find out that they are very special and very resilient and can add a great deal of warmth to a family.”
For information on fostering or adopting call 903-533-4242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(© 2016 KYTX)