ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY GOV. BILL GRAVES
As Linda and I watch our daughter, Katie, grow up so quickly, we realize how blessed we are. Katie is 4 years old and has the uncanny ability to amaze us almost constantly. She?s at the age where everything is an opportunity to ask questions and her personality is really beginning to take shape.
Linda and I have been very up front about Katie?s adoption, and our experience has strengthened our commitment to helping other children without parents find families.
That?s why I am so proud that I have been able to champion adoption reforms in Kansas. We have seen vast improvement in the placement of children in permanent homes, but there?s always room for more improvement.
One child without a loving family and a place to call home is one child too many.
In my new budget proposal to the Kansas Legislature, I am asking for a $6.3 million increase in state support for adoption services. This money will help continue the strong commitment we have made to some of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
I am confident lawmakers will give my plan serious consideration. With the legislature?s help, we have already established state income tax credits for Kansas families who adopt.
Still, too many kids are waiting too long for the opportunity to be adopted. While foster parents who volunteer their love, time, energies and financial resources are to be praised and admired, even they will be the first to tell you foster care cannot replace permanent homes.
Nothing is more important to a child than to feel like he or she has a home with a loving family. Linda and I serve in many roles, but nothing is more important than being Katie?s mom and dad.
With Katie, our lives are fuller and richer in ways we never dared dream possible. I feel stronger than ever that every child deserves a permanent, loving home. As governor, I find myself in a position to help make it happen.
I urge the Kansas Legislature to consider my increased funding proposal for adoption services. I also urge interested individuals to find out more about adoption in Kansas.
Perhaps you are interested in becoming an adoptive parent. Maybe you can volunteer time or resources to one of the many agencies that help with adoption services.
We must remain committed to this crucial issue.