Kea Herron said she experienced many disappointments in her life. She had been through divorce, struggling financially, and wanted children. Despite her life changes she decided to adopt.
“I was worried I was too old, too broke, too single, and too unhealthy to adopt,” said Herron, a 52 year-old Tallahassee resident.
Five years ago, The World Association of Parents and Children adoption agency gave her the child she always wanted. She adopted 10-year-old Keya Herron from Ethiopia.
“When we traveled to pick her up, I was filled with so many emotions,” said Herron through teary eyes. “I felt mostly happy. It was meant to be. Even our names are similar.”
Keya who is now 15, said she did not see many other kids adopted from her orphanage. She said she was excited about coming to America and being able to attend school.
“There is so much opportunity in America,” Keya said. “I know I can be a doctor or lawyer someday.”
WACAP was established in 1976. Its primary focus is on finding homes for older children, 3 and up, and children with special needs. Eighty percent of the children placed in homes through WACAP are children who have waited for adoption for over three years.
Julie Synder, a communications manager of WACAP, explained that most people want to adopt newborns because they think the chances of the child having mental health problems are low
However, Synder disagrees.
She believes that “going into parenthood is leap-of-faith.”
Even if you birthed the child yourself you still don’t know what they will be like until they began to grow into their own person.
Parents must be between ages of 25-50 to adopt. Adoption on average can take between six months and three years. Nevertheless, WACAP has international connections with local organizations that Herron said make the adoption process more “organized and efficient.”
It can cost up to $20,000 to adopt. Some of the hardest parts of adoption are the costs, but WACAP offer grants and government AID to help with fees.
According to the WACAP website, government aid, such as Adoption Tax Credit “offers an income tax break of over $13,000 to cover adoption expenses, as well as for expenses incurred in domestic adoptions of children with special needs.”
“The landscape of adoption is always changing,” Synder said. “The policies, the rules, and the cost they are all liable to change.”
While waiting to complete the adoption process, Heron held fundraisers and garage sales to pay for Keya’s plane ticket. Her job hosted a baby shower, donating many of the items she needed.
“I received a grant from an anonymous donor for adopting a child older than 8,” Herron said. “It covers about a third of the fees. The grant was tremendous help.”
WACAP’s services do not end after the adoption process is over. It offers parent programs and counseling. For children who are not adopted, they have sponsors and programs that help clothe, feed, house, and educate those children.
“I would recommend WACAP without a doubt,” Herron said.