For a foster child, finding a "forever family" may seem like an impossible dream.
But for three children living in Bedford County, that dream is now a reality.
Steven and Nicole Sloan first opened their home and their hearts to a foster child that Nicole had met while she was teaching. Afterwards, two more kids joined their family. Now the Sloans are in the process of adopting a fourth foster child. It's a full house, considering the Sloans also have three biological children.
"The kids are happy. They don't really- they don't notice difference," says Nicole. "And like, when we add another child, it's just like that child has been there."
You can meet the Sloan family in our special report, "Forever Family," airing Thursday on WDBJ7 at 6.
If you're thinking about adoption, we have a live chat Thursday night starting at 6 p.m with Dawn Caldwell and Chasity Fitzpatrick from the Piedmont Regional Office of Social Services. They will be available to answer your questions.
Here's how to join the chat.
According to Virginia social services, there are currently more than 1,500 children in need of adoption. At the same time, a new law about to be signed by Governor Bob McDonnell will put new limits on who is allowed to adopt in our state. The law will allow private adoption agencies to deny placement to people because of factors like age, political beliefs and sexual orientation. When signed, it will go into effect July 1.
However, adoption counselors, like Marge Savage Thornton with Commonwealth Catholic Charities says there is an agency for most anyone who wants to adopt.
"It's the way it has always been the fact that different agencies have different policies and there are different affiliations. But essentially, finding the right agency as a family or an invidual, if they have an approved home study, they can adopt," says Thornton.
There is no cost to adopt if it's done through the foster program. But it can get expensive if you go through a private adoption agency. Thornton says the price can range from $6,500.00 all the way up to $20,000.00.
She says the key is finding the right match.
For families interested in fostering or adopting a child, here is a link to the Heart Gallery, featuring pictures of children in foster care waiting for adoption. You can also find out more information by calling 1-800-DO-ADOPT.
Helpful Web sites: