Lawyer Gene Balloun is hooked on fostering. Mr Balloun, a Kansas City lawyer, has fostered 29 children together with his wife, but he has also helped over 1000 children find permanent homes by using his legal knowledge to help foster parents to adopt kids.
When Mr Balloun and his wife fostered their first child, David, they knew they were hooked. They eventually adopted David and the last child they fostered, Hannah. In between, they welcomed 27 other children into their home.
“My real joy in the law practice is not in winning some big case, but completing a final adoption,” Balloun said. For that reason, he’s represented foster parents in 1,035 adoption cases — pro bono.
His next goal, at the age of 86, is to reach 2,000 famillies helped, he says, because he and his wife know the joys of adoption firsthand — and he credits his 16-year-old daughter Hannah with keeping him energized. “It certainly makes me feel younger,” he said.
“It’s keeping him young, it’s making me old,” Wombles countered. But she said she couldn’t imagine life without her daughter or the years the couple spent fostering.
“Once you get started I think it’s sort of addictive because you see what need you’re filling and how important it is to the kids,” said Wombles.
Some 100,000 of the nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system are eligible for adoption, but about a third of those children will have to wait more than three years before they are actually adopted, according to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.
Johnson County District Judge Kathleen Sloan, who has overseen some of the cases, said the country could use more Gene Ballouns.
Source: NBC News
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