LENEXA, Kan. — November is National Adoption Month and in Johnson County its a special time to celebrate. This Thanksgiving one three-year-old boy and his family are a little more grateful after finalizing his adoption.
Jace, 3, was placed into foster care the day he was born. On Saturday, he became part of the Rutten family, but to them he was part of their family the moment they brought him home.
“I’m getting adopted!” Jace exclaimed.
Candice and Michael Rutten say they decided to become foster parents early in their marriage. They had two biological boys, Brayden, 13, and Lincoln, 10, and three years ago they adopted twin sisters eight-year-old Kiley and Hailey. Right around that time they got a call about Jace.
“We found out that mom and dad had another kiddo. We were just excited when they said are you ready for more and we said yes! Because life isn’t crazy enough with four kids, so why not five?” Candice said.
“I was really excited and when I was told he was our actual brother from our actual mom I was really excited,” Jace’s biological sister, Hailey said.
Jace fit right in at the Rutten’s house and into their hearts.
“He’s kind of carved out this special place in my heart of just being this silly little boy who unexpectedly came into our lives,” Michael said.
On November 20, Jace officially became a Rutten with his family by his side. He celebrated in the courtroom with his judge, siblings, parents, and extended and official family.
The Ruttens say being foster parents has not always been easy, but it’s always been worth it. They signed up to be foster parents through KVC Kansas, the largest foster care provider in the state. They hope other families will see how much joy these children can bring to their lives and make the decision to foster as well.
“Take every opportunity they can to become amazing people and maybe they can carry on the tradition of helping kids who need a loving family. Kids who need a safe stable place. It’s really been a wonderful experience,” Michael Rutten said.
Even if you don’t adopt and kids are only with you for a short time, Candice says it can make a difference.
“Even when it was hard when we said goodbye I wouldn’t change anything for the world. Just to know that we could help somebody. Not only did we help people but they filled our hearts with love,” Candice said.
As Jace grows he will learn his family isn’t as traditional as some, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.
In the past six months hundreds more children than expected have entered the foster care system. Some of those children may need to be adopted along with the hundreds more waiting. Foster care may be a temporary situation for some children, but maybe you are the person they need to help get them through.
Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Missouri?
- Cornerstones of Care specializes in Standard and Career Foster Licenses at 1-855-SRV-KIDS (855-778-5437) or visit their website.
- Crittenton Children’s Center (Saint Lukes) focuses on medical homes, homes that can accommodate sibling groups, and homes for older youth (age 12 and up).
- If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Virginia Fatseas at (816) 986-5209
- Missouri Alliance offers elevated needs training (Level A & B) to our Resource Families. They also train our foster parents in TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) as well as SOS (Signs of Safety).
- If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Karie Scott-Roark email: KRoark@MA-CF.org.
- Great Circle Behavioral Health for Children & Families does foster care licensing for prospective foster parents.
- If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Jaqueline Brown at (816) 255-1503 or Jacqueline.Brown@greatcircle.org
Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Kansas?
- KVC Kansas
- To become an adoptive parent you can find more information by calling (888) 655-5500.
- To become a foster parent you can sign up for a class or learn more through their website.
- Cornerstones of Care
- To become an adoptive or foster parent you can contact Denise Gibson at (913) 209-5923 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to see more children who are looking for a family?
Want to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in the metro?
According to CASA’s website, a court appointed special advocate make a life-changing different for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Each volunteer is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court.
Their volunteers help judges develop a fuller picture of each child’s life. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decision for each child.
- Jackson County CASA
- Clay County CASA: To volunteer with Clay County CASA, contact the Program Director, Ashley Zugelter, at 816-736-8400 or email email@example.com.
- CASA of Lafayette & Saline Counties: To volunteer with 15th Judicial Circuit CASA, contact the Executive Director, Robin McGinnity Connelly, at 660-259-2590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their Facebook page.
- CASA of Wyandotte & Johnson Counties
- CASA of Atchison & Leavenworth Counties: To volunteer contact the Executive Director, Kelly Meyer, at (913) 651-6440 or email her at Lv1casa@sbcglobal.net.
- Douglas County CASA: To volunteer contact the Executive Director, Diana Frederick, at (785) 832-5172 or email her at email@example.com.
Want to reach out to Sherae? For business inquiries or questions that are unable to be answered through this article, you can reach out to Sherae Honeycutt, the host of Thursday’s Child, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.