Fostered and Adopted Kids

Carly Lidzy, Writer

Approximately 8,200 children go through the foster care system in Arkansas each year, but there are only 1,600 foster homes available. Because of the lack of foster homes, many kids are taken away from their home counties and moved around constantly.

Many students walking the hallways have been through the foster care system, and some have been adopted into a “forever home.” For some, it was a short affair earlier on in their lives, but for others, it was a much longer process. Junior Danté Baker was in the foster care system for 11 years.

“I started [in the foster care system] when I was two,” Baker said. “I was in and out for a little while. It was kind of fun going to different schools and meeting new friends. After a while [though], I was going back and forth to the same school and it got boring. I didn’t like moving.”

After constantly moving in and out of his childhood home for nine years, Baker finally got adopted.

“I got taken [from my home] for my last time for about four years,” Baker said. “That’s when my [new] family came to adopt me.”

Baker still does not have the full story as to why he was ultimately put into the foster care system.

“I’ve been lied to by caseworkers a lot,” Baker said. “My [adoptive] parents say that there was some sexual abuse with my little brother and sister, [but] nothing happened to my older brother and me.”

While some students are adopted in the state level, sophomore Caroline Coates was originally in the foster care system in Korea and was able to get adopted internationally.

“I was adopted when I was a year old on November 17, 2003,” Coates said. “I arrived in America on January 21, 2004.”

Coates does not remember her foster mother from Korea, Yung Soo Park, but that did not stop Park from sending traditional Korean items to Coates.

“My foster mom sent me some traditional Korean kimonos, small Hanbok robes and little bottles with Hangul [the Korean alphabet] on them,” Coates said.

The only way that Coates would be able to meet her birth parents would be if she were 18 and staying in Korea.

“I would want to know the background stuff, sicknesses and genetic, if they ever wonder how I’m doing,” Coates said.

While there are many foster kids in Arkansas looking for a home, there are also new people looking to help those who are in need. Theresa Cunningham, a member of First Southern Baptist Church in Bryant, recently looked into joining the foster care cause with her husband, Peter, the youth pastor at FSBC.

“We have always had a heart for young people in need,” Cunningham said. “Our family has a lot of love to give, and [we] feel that God commands us to take care of orphans. This is one way we can do that.”