Our Opinion: Adoptive families strengthen fabric of our community | The Wilson Times
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Our Opinion: Adoptive families strengthen fabric of our community

Posted on November 15, 2021

OpinionEditorials

Stock photo | Pixabay

THUMBS UP to Wilson County residents who open their hearts and homes to adoptive children in need of families.

Parents and children will share their experiences with community members this Thursday when the Wilson County Department of Social Services hosts an adoption celebration and flashlight vigil from 6-7 p.m. at the county courthouse. Anyone interested in learning about adoption and foster parenting opportunities is encouraged to attend.

Whether given up for adoption at birth or removed from their biological homes due to abuse, neglect, disability or hardship, tens of thousands of children await new families in North Carolina. The number of kids in foster care increased steadily from 2015-19, with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reporting 11,223 children in the system in 2019, the most recent year for which figures are available.

The average child waits more than three years to be adopted, and a large proportion of children seeking adoptive homes are African American, according to state statistics. The average age of North Carolina adoptees was 6.7 in 2012, while the age of kids awaiting adoption averaged 8½.

“For youth age 9 and older, the likelihood of being adopted drops significantly,” a fact sheet from child welfare groups First Focus and the State Policy Advocacy & Reform Center states.

November is National Adoption Month, so the Wilson County DSS is taking the opportunity to educate Wilson residents about the need for adoptive families and the administrative and legal process required to adopt a child.

Even if you’re not considering adoption, Thursday’s event will shed light on the issue and explain what everyone can do to support children in need. Barton College’s cheer squad and the Divas of Distinction dance team are scheduled to perform.

THUMBS DOWN to legislators’ lack of urgency in passing a state budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year — more than a third of which has already ticked away with no spending plan in sight.

Republican legislative leaders have spent months in closed-door negotiations with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in hopes of avoiding a veto stalemate. Media accounts indicate no grand bargain was struck, but the budget may enjoy enough support from House and Senate Democrats to pass with or without Cooper.

Bipartisan governance isn’t easy, but that’s the mandate voters gave when they reelected Cooper and kept Republicans in control of both General Assembly chambers, stopping short of awarding the GOP a supermajority that can override the governor’s veto stamp. Constituents told Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore and Cooper to reconcile their differences and lead from the center.

The General Assembly has biennial terms with long sessions on odd-numbered years and short sessions on even-numbered years. Long sessions include the two-year state budget, but that’s supposed to be enacted at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. Lawmakers shouldn’t still be in Raleigh as we count down the days to Thanksgiving.

Stark differences between the governor and House and Senate leaders played a role in the logjam, but a lack of discipline is also to blame. State law requires county, city and town governments to adopt their budgets by July 1, but legislators impose no such deadline on themselves.

Suppose legislators’ $104 per diem payments for travel and lodging were reduced each day the budget was late until the sum dwindled down to zero. We’d see a lot more hustle on Jones Street in the last week of June.

THUMBS UP to New Hope Elementary School crossing guard Clara Daniels, whose infectious smile and cheerful dance moves help parents and students start their day on the right foot.

Times reporter Olivia Neeley profiled Daniels for a story on Friday’s front page, and readers agreed that Daniels’ jaunty morning greetings were deserving of special recognition. Dozens of people shared their affection and admiration for “Ms. Clara” on Facebook.

“She has a soul full of sunshine,” Brenda Hobbs Whaley wrote.

“She makes my day every time, no matter how down I am,” Michael Carico added.

The story, “Dancing in the traffic line,” received 402 likes, 60 comments and 89 shares on the Times’ Facebook page. We share the community’s assessment of Daniels as an everyday difference-maker, and we’re honored to tell her uplifting story in our pages.

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