Softening the hard knocks

Annie put it best when she sang, “It’s the hard knock life for us.” But while orphan Annie’s journey through adolescence ended happily as a member of the Warbucks family, the success rate for most of the 25,000 children who each year age-out, or turn 18, in orphanages is not as good. 

Only approximately 50 percent of orphaned children graduate from high school, and only 13 percent go on to college. As adults, fifty-two percent of them are unemployed, 25 percent will be homeless for at least one night, and 60 percent of females become pregnant. 

Orphans have a much better chance of tackling life successfully if they are adopted, which is why it’s good that many organizations are dedicated to uniting an orphaned child with parents who desperately want a son or daughter. Interested? One such local organization, Families United Through Adoption (FUTA), is hosting a free adoption seminar on March 18.

FUTA, the brainchild of Chris Walker, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has been operating in the Charlottesville area for six years. Walker has over 30 years of experience in the field of child sociology; she worked for 11 years as an Albemarle County Social Services adoption specialist before founding FUTA. As an LCSW, Walker is licensed to offer psychotherapeutic services to children and their families; so who better to address the needs of Albemarle parents interested in adoption?

FUTA is currently a small operation, placing four to five children each year, but Walker is pushing for expansion. On the whole, the children placed through FUTA have done extremely well in their adoptive homes, she says. FUTA offers follow-up visits and other services, including an educational course to help parents understand the medical, developmental, and other risks involved in an international or special needs adoption, as well as the unique issues that face every adoptive parent. 

  The free meeting on the March 18 will offer a quick overview of adoption options and then focus on international adoption, which is Walker’s specialty. The countries from which orphaned children are available for adoption include Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, India, Kazakstan, Slovakia, Latin American countries and others. If adoption options or international adoption piques your interest, check out the Families United Through Adoptions free meeting on March 18— you won’t regret it. 



Families United Through Adoption will sponsor a Free Adoption Meeting on March 18 from 6:45 to 8:30pm at Northside Library in Albemarle Square. Reservations are appreciated but not required.  For more information, please call Chris Walker at 923-8253. 

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