State hopes to find more homes for children in foster care |

State hopes to find more homes for children in foster care

by F.T. Norton
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal

Karen Hartman calmly recounted the details of her 14 children’s lives as the youngest of the brood ran squealing through the leaves on the Capitol lawn Thursday afternoon.

Oscar, 6, Brenda, 5, Cesar 4, and Lucera, 3, were adopted 16 years ago while Karen was pregnant with her son Gabe.

Natalie, 6, and Joanna, 5, came into the family 11 years ago around the same time that Karen gave birth to her and husband David’s son, Henry.

Just recently, the Hartman’s adopted 19-month-old Mathias.

And on Nov. 15, the Gardnerville clan will grow again when sibling groups Arneesha, 11, Zariya, 8, and Nora Jane, 7; and David, 7, and Amy, 6; formally become Hartmans in a Minden courtroom.

In 2008, 5,000 children were in the foster care system in Nevada and just 365 found forever homes.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and the Hartman’s received a proclamation from Gov. Jim Gibbons on the Capitol steps Thursday.

“What really is needed is finding adopted families for older youth and children with special needs,” said Chrystal Main, spokeswoman for the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services. “This month is to raise awareness of the need for people to adopt children.”

Karen said she never intended to marry or have children when she was young, but after seven years of marriage to David, the couple decided to adopt.

They haven’t yet stopped, and Karen can’t promise she will.

Most anyone can be eligible to adopt a child, according to the Division of Child and Family Services Web site.

Adoption is open to people of any race, people of any religion or no religious preference, people who work outside the home, people who rent or people who own their own homes, people with high or low incomes, people with or without other children, people over age 21; however, all applicants must be at least 10 years older than the person being adopted.

Karen hopes that this month will raise the adoption radar and people will get serious about finding homes for Nevada’s children in need.

“We can’t take them all,” she said.

– Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.