How to become a foster/adoptive parent |

How to become a foster/adoptive parent

More than 470 children in the rural counties of Nevada (including Carson, Douglas, Lyon and Storey) will spend this holiday season without a home.

Many of them live in Northern Nevada and are available for adoption, said Chrystal Main, the social services chief for the state’s division of Child and Family Services.

“I think there are a lot of families out there that could grow – a lot of qualified and loving couples looking for a child – but, for some reason they haven’t heard of us or they don’t know how to start the process,” she said. “In the meantime, the area grows and the number of children without homes grows exponentially.”

While some, like the Hartmans of Gardnerville, do more than their share, others who may be able to foster or adopt a child are often afraid of the process, Main said.

“I know there’s a stigma about the paperwork and the background checks,” she said. “But we have streamlined the process. We certainly like to say to adopt, it can take under a year – and could be faster than a half a year.

“It doesn’t take nearly the length of time people think it does.”

Another misconception, she said, is that only small children need constant attention and care.

“We have kids from newborn to 17,” she said. “When a kid in a normal family turns 18, how many have the awareness and wherewithal to make it on their own?

“We’re trying to raise awareness of these kids that are aging out and transitioning into independent living without much to go on. So, even though an older child’s needs are different from a newborn, those teen years are just as crucial to build some kind of stability.”

The Carson office currently has 10 children available for adoption. Families can also sponsor a child for the holidays by filling their wish-lists.

“Without our great community, think how many hundreds of kids would go without any sense of holiday,” Main said.

Northern Nevadans interested in finding out more about how to foster or adopt a child can visit or call the Carson district office at 687-4943.

“These kids are great kids and ready for homes,” Main said.