At any given time, approximately 3,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system are waiting for adoptive families — the need is great.
That’s why foster parents like Ed Reyes and his wife are so important. The two are in the process of adopting two children after the young boy and girl’s parents lost parental rights. The couple has fostered other children before — with the goal of returning them to their birth parents — but this time, things will be a little different.
“Truly, the kids have given us more than we think we’ve given them,” said Reyes. “When you have kids around they give you a whole new perspective on what is the most important thing.”
To foster relationships like that, Lutheran Adoption Services launched the Forever Home Run four years ago. The annual run features a 5K, a 1K dress-up dash and a variety of events. Those who attend don’t have to become foster parents, in fact, many are just supporters of the work that’s being done. The event doubles as a fundraiser that helps raise money for services like home therapy and support groups.
“People aren’t aware that there’s children right there in their own community that need forever homes, or foster homes,” said Lena Wilson, the Vice President of Samaritas, who along with Wellspring Lutheran Services are helping with this year’s event.
“We’re not looking for anything typical,” she said when asked about what type of foster parents they’re looking for. “In fact, most of the best families we come across — they’re not typical. I think it’s just something anyone can do if they have it in their heart to try.”
This year’s event is designed to build awareness of the foster care system, and the ongoing needs in metro Detroit. The Forever Home Run typically raises $40,000 a year — this year there will be face-painting, a bounce house, games and crafts. While a number of foster children will be at the event, those who attend likely won’t know who they are — the event typically draws a large crowd. The hope is that people are moved to help in whatever way they can.
“It’s really about that desire to help,” said Lauren Lochner Boone, “the desire to have a child in your home that you can love and then just overcoming that fear to taking that next step.”
Those interested in becoming a foster parent can gather more information at the event, but organizers like Lochner Boone stress that it’s a long process before you become a foster — that’s to protect potential children and to ensure that the adults volunteering are a good fit for the services.
Saturday’s Forever Home Run kicks off at 7:30 a.m. at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church on North Adams Road in Bloomfield Hills. If you’d like more details about the event, or want to register to run in one of the races you can find more information here.