Event in Long Beach encourages fostering, adopting children - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Event in Long Beach encourages fostering, adopting children

An adoption agency, 200 million flowers, works with DHS to help foster children. (Image Source: WLOX News) An adoption agency, 200 million flowers, works with DHS to help foster children. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Several agencies turned out to speak about fostering and adopting. (Image Source: WLOX News) Several agencies turned out to speak about fostering and adopting. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Dozens of people turned out to learn more about fostering and adopting in Mississippi. (Image Source: WLOX News) Dozens of people turned out to learn more about fostering and adopting in Mississippi. (Image Source: WLOX News)
LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) -

The doors of First Baptist Church in Long Beach were opened to not only their congregation, but others who wanted to learn more about the dire need for more foster and adoptive families in the state of Mississippi.

"We have come to realize that the crisis is so great. The need is so critical right now that there's got to be a broader more comprehensive effort in order to address and meet these needs in a meaningful effective way," said Senior Pastor LaRue Stephens.

According to Stephens, more than 20 percent of the state's foster children are from Harrison and Hancock counties. That's a statistic that concerned Tammy Turner.

"The more I learn about so many children here that are just homeless and don't have a family to call their own, then it's just really been a burden on my heart and something I've really been interested in being a part of," said Turner.

There was a wealth of information available for those who were interested in fostering or adopting. Representatives from a state run adoption agency even came from Jackson to talk about getting the religious community involved.

"There are a little over 5,000 kids in foster care and just under 8000 churches in the state of Mississippi. So, do the math and if one family from each church could produce one foster family we would have a waiting list of parents instead of kids waiting for families," said Rick Valore, executive director for 200 Million Flowers.

Speakers from several adoption agencies spoke to the crowd, but putting a face to it all was Jaszmen Hawthorne, a former foster child of 10 years.

"I was blessed to have a foster family, but it's so many children that I know that did not get that opportunity. So, to know that there's so many more people that are willing to take interest in what's going on right here in our state. It just warms my heart," said Hawthorne.

To learn more about you can foster a child, visit: http://www.mdhs.state.ms.us/become-a-resource-(foster)-parent/

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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