by Todd Johnson; originally published at TheGrio.com.
Jordan Sarazin was in foster care just five months after she was born. But in 2006, everything changed. She was adopted by Magalie Jean-Gilles, who has spent nearly a decade caring for dozens of foster children.
“[Magalie] has pushed to do better in school and impacted my life in a lot of ways,” said Sarazin, who is black. “I was in foster care for so long. I’m glad it was [Magalie] who became my mother.”
Gilles has made foster parenting her full-time job. And that means keeping up with her foster children and her two birth daughters.
“It’s really sad, sometimes [foster children] have no family out there,” said Gilles, who was born in Haiti. “It hurts my heart, but that is why I am here to help.”
Black children account for more than 30 percent of the roughly 500,000 kids in foster care, according to research.
To address these numbers, a new federally funded ad campaign is looking to get more black foster children adopted.
Television commercials will feature black parents and children in settings such as parks and schools. Similar ads will appear on radio and in newspaper.
The ads were developed by the Advertising Council, which produces public service announcements and AdoptUsKids, a non-profit which helps connect foster children with adoptive families.
It marks the first time African-Americans have been targeted, according to project officials.
“There are a lot of negative images of African-Americans, especially preadolescent and adolescent black boys,” said Kathy Ledesma, project director of AdoptUsKids. “African-American children are removed from their homes at higher rates than [other racial groups].
The new ads will officially launch November 1st.
Gilles is interested in adopting more children in the future.
“I feel blessed, I really do,” Gilles said. “I will keep [foster parenting] until—I don’t know—for a very, very long time.”