LAWTON, OK (KSWO) –We've introduced you to 16 children over the past year through "A Child Who Hopes," in an effort to unite these children with loving homes.
Over the past year, they've made us laugh…
"So I can arrest people," Dominic said when asked why he wants to be a police officer.
And tugged on our heart strings…
"Being able to be with a family and have someone to love me," said Jacob.
While some of the children have been adopted, many others are still waiting for a home.
And that's where child welfare specialist Jennifer Cox comes in. She says a lot of people are afraid they won't meet the qualifications because of their income. While DHS does take that into consideration, Cox says the amount of money you earn won't make or break you.
"As long as you have enough income to be able to support yourself. As long as you have a house that you could safely put a child, then that would be equivalent," Cox said.
She says financial and medical assistance for the children is available to those who qualify, and DHS will even pay your legal fees. But to even start the process, you must pass a background check. After that, anyone can apply.
"Being a single parent, even a same-sex couple, those would not be barriers for having a child placed with you," Cox said.
As far as age is concerned, Cox says it is looked at on a case-by-case basis. Although it can be frustrating at times, she says potential families should keep in mind that, like everything else, it can take time.
"That's the thing people get frustrated with. I think the most, is the length of times it takes, but we have to be very sure that it is a safe environment to place a child," Cox said.
Cox says if you're thinking about adoption, it's also important to have an open mind.
"Sometimes people come in thinking that they want a small baby and then we go to adoption events and have them meet some of the children who are available for adoption, those needs kind of change a little bit," Cox said.
Cox says there are about 400 children in the system who are eligible for adoption or foster care right now. Most have suffered some type of trauma, but the right family can really help turn their lives around.
"These are wonderful, wonderful children and if they were just giving a chance to have a loving mother, father…two-parent family. Every child deserves a chance to have a family," Cox said.
If you would like to learn more about adoption and foster care or any of the children we've featured, just call (580) 250-3700 extension 3719 to speak to a person who will be more than happy to walk you through the process.