Worth Wants Adoption Challenges Changed

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Bringing a new life into this world is complicated enough. Opening your home to a child with no home seems an overwhelming task that many good families are not up to.

There is this belief out there that adoptable kids are everywhere, Michelle Worth said, but they have a price on their heads and it is not equal.

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Michelle Worth and her three children are ready to bring a new member of the family home through an adoption, if the challenges can be reduced to make their dream come true.

Worth and her husband, Ed, have three great kids, Amanda 13, Bobby 12 and Brett 5.

"Basically what we have with our kids and all the time we spend with them we realize we have room for one more," Worth said.

She sees the commercials, she hears the news stories and wants to bring a child in and give it a "forever family‚" as she called it.

Many children here and in the world do not have a forever family, she said.

Talking with state agencies like the Department of Economic Security (DES) has Worth frustrated and angry.

"Arizona state law requires you to use an agency. An agency is an interface between you and the adoption process, but what they do is raise the rates," Worth said.

A facilitator, like a non-profit Christian organization Worth found via the Internet, cannot be utilized in this state.

Her frustration stems from seeing the system at work and not-at-work. Worth's grandmother was very involved and provided a foster home for many years. Seeing these kids go in and out the revolving door has stayed with her.

"The adoption process is such a scam and such a money making business for some people," Worth said in disgust.

She has found that adoption runs from $10,000 to $30,000 and even more, with the biggest variable being the color of the baby's skin. Other variables include age, and the physical and mental health of the child.

Initial costs include a $2,000 to $5,000 training and home study, she said. This is where the agency checks your home's safety, your family's sleeping arrangements and the overall activity and interaction of your family.

If they deem you worthy then you begin to train; if you are taking a special needs child, such as an abuse victim or a baby addicted to drugs, then you receive more training, Worth explained.

"You are taught to deal with anger, ethnic issues and incorporating this new person into your existing family," she said.

That is important, Worth said. But after that, the fees begin to pile up. Some prospective parents have to hire a lawyer just to understand the process, while the costs begin to skyrocket discouraging many happy, healthy families from helping a child in need.

Outraged by the inequities, Worth is struggling with ideas on how to make this better for children.

"If one person could break through and change how adoptions are done, then maybe we could keep these agencies and their fees in check," she said.

Still, Worth is determined that she will adopt. Now looking overseas, Worth likes what she sees in Haiti.

"There are two orphanages run by a Christian organization," she said. They have 56 Haitian children in their care. Rather than just send money and have the child remain without a forever family, Worth wants to bring one home.

"That is why I won't just give money and leave the child there -- the easiest thing to do is give money and the hardest thing to do is give your time for the rest of your life.

"My biggest goal is to give a child the typical life of a child or what we consider that is."

Currently a stay-at-home-mom, Worth home-schools the three she has now.

"My daughter rides horses every weekend, we ride motorcycles, we have sleep-overs and friends. That is what I want to offer a child. I don't want to offer money so a child can live in an orphanage the rest of their life."

"We are not poor by any means, but we don't have $12,000 to $15,000 laying around to adopt and you can't help but care about these children," Worth said. "When you have an abundance of children waiting to be adopted why not make it easier?"

That question is the one that haunts Worth, as frequently as the faces of the babies without a daily hug.

"I really want to adopt, but I want to figure out how to make a foundation or create an alternative. Parents should not have to hock their life and refinance their house just to get a kid -- not with so many kids needing a family."

"I want this to be the beginning. I want to create an adoption for us and the creation of a foundation," she said. "If this person has money over here and this family over here wants to adopt and has a forever family to offer a child -- then let's donate an adoption. Let's move, let's make something turn, I am so excited about it I don't know which angle to go at," she confessed.

"It is such a big area to cover, there are so many avenues to go at and trying to get questions answered."

If you have ideas, resources, donations or access to resources, or want more information call Michele Worth 476-2092. Or e-mail her at eande@cybertrails.com.

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