Catholic Charities: Consider adopting children in foster care

November 26, 2013

HOUSTON — On the Thanksgiving holiday, many gather with friends and family to celebrate all the things for which they are grateful. But for the children in foster care waiting to be adopted, they have less to be thankful for. During the month of November, recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month, Catholic Charities continues to raise awareness and ask people in the greater Houston area to consider opening not just their hearts, but their homes. 

“Too many of our children will never get adopted before they turn 18; called aging-out of the system,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Cynthia N. Colbert. “They will go through life alone, not sharing holidays with parents, not having a father to guide them nor a mother to hug and nurture them.”

Catholic Charities has been identifying and approving loving homes for children since the 1940s. Children in the protective custody of the state often have a variety of traumatic issues related to their biological families, including abuse, neglect or abandonment. The agency has placed thousands of children in the last 70 years and the program continues to be passionate in its primary intent of identify loving homes for infants and children. 

“We know that not everyone can or should become a foster or adoptive parent, but that doesn’t mean any one can’t get involved,” Colbert said. “Giving just a little bit of your free time can make a huge impact.”

Happily married for 10 years, Timothy and Tracie Parnell came to Catholic Charities seeking to complete their family. “We chose adoption because there are so many children in foster care who need a good and caring home,” they said. “We love showing children the world and taking them places they have never been. It’s all about building happy memories and having fun in the process.” 

While all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care. In 2010, there were 6,009 children in the state’s foster care system in the 10-county service area of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston; of these 4,773 were in Harris County. 

Thirteen-thousand children in Texas await permanency through adoption and of these, 2,000 are in Houston. In 2010, 264 youth in Texas aged out of foster care without a permanent legal family. On average, children wait more than three years before finding a “forever family” through adoption. During this time, these children are moved from foster home to home, changing schools, losing friends, separated from siblings and wondering if they will ever have any one to call “Mom” or “Dad” again. 

Research shows that many of these youth will face significant obstacles in the future, including homelessness, unemployment, depression and substance abuse. The best way to improve these outcomes is to ensure that youth do not age out of care without a family.

For more information, visit at or contact Colleen Kitowski at 713-874-6760.