In 2014, 238 children in Oklahoma’s foster child system aged out of foster care without finding a family to adopt them. Many of these children will be at risk of homelessness, criminal activity or early pregnancy. That’s why the caring employees and volunteers at Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services are hosting a foster child benefit concert featuring former foster child-turned-country music star Jimmy Wayne.
Aging out is a major problem both in Oklahoma and in the United States as a whole. A 2010 report on Midwestern foster children who aged out of foster care found that nearly 20% experienced homelessness within three years of leaving the foster care system, and more than 70% of the female children became pregnant at least once. Furthermore, 12% of the interviewed participants were incarcerated after six years, and 69% had been arrested at least once since age 18.
In total, more than 30,000 children age out of foster care every year in the United States, translating into thousands of 17- and 18-year-olds at risk for homelessness or worse. However, with some help and care, we can do better.
This spring, we want to bring 300 or more foster kids together to be inspired by the extraordinary songs and stories of Jimmy Wayne. A former foster kid turned country music singer, songwriter and author, his concerts bring hope to foster kids and highlight his mission to bring awareness to kids who age out of the foster system and become homeless.
Because Jimmy Wayne’s mother was in and out of prison, he was in and out of foster care. He witnessed his step-father shoot and paralyze a woman. He lived on the streets until an elderly couple took him in; providing a home, love and the opportunity to turn his life around.
Jimmy Wayne is also known for his hits, “Do You Believe Me Now”, “Stay Gone” and “I Will”. He is the author of Paper Angels, which also premiered as a TV movie in 2014. He wrote about his life in his second book, Walk To Beautiful, which was recently released and is on the New York Times Best Seller List.
His music and his story are incredibly powerful and give hope to our state’s foster children, who also come from hard places. For those who desire to engage in helping Oklahoma’s foster children in some way, this will also provide a great opportunity to learn more.
For those who desire to engage in helping Oklahoma’s foster children in some way, this will also provide a great opportunity to learn more. Each $25.00 donation permits the donor to attend the event for free and will be used to underwrite the cost of the event, allowing a foster child and their guardian an opportunity to attend the concert, reinforcing a positive outcome from Jimmy who can identify with their hurt and uncertainty. Each foster child will also receive a free t-shirt.
Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services can also help interested families become adoptive parents to older foster children in danger of aging out of the foster system. We partner with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) to train families for the difficult but extremely rewarding task of adopting older foster children and saving them from a life of hardship and loneliness.
Whether you’re interested in donating, attending our benefit concert, or learning more about fostering or adopting a foster child, please feel free to contact us at Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services. Our employees and volunteers will tell you how you can contribute and change the lives of foster children in Oklahoma forever.