The adoption process is a long but binding road
Hundreds of children throughout Nevada are awaiting adoption, but that path can be difficult for those looking to adopt.
Las Vegas Councilman Brian Knudsen has adopted two children and says the process can be frustratingly slow to people anxious to start a family.
"It is an enormous amount of paperwork, and there's probably not enough staff in our state," he told State of Nevada. "The process is a little bit longer than it should be."
The councilman said he and his husband talked about having children on the night they met 17 years ago, even though “it took a long time to get to the point where we could think about having a baby.”
Once they became actively involved in seeking an adoptive child, “we had a couple of failed adoption experiences that were incredibly painful and traumatic for us,” Knudsen said.
As they were considering giving up the process, Knudsen said he heard from a caseworker who told him, “There's a woman who just had a baby at UMC, and she heard about your failed adoptions, and she felt badly for you. And she thinks she'd be a great couple to raise her son.”
Knudsen said the woman’s only requests were 30 minutes of their time and an order of chicken nuggets. So, over an order of chicken nuggets, “she had a lot to say about her life and the world that she lived in,” the councilman said.
A second adoption happened after a mother left a 3.5-pound, 10-week premature baby girl at a local hospital.
“We picked her up and looked her in the eyes and said, Catherine, you're you're coming home with us,” Knudsen said. “And we spent six weeks in the hospital with Kate as she was recovering.”
Today the children are happy and healthy at 6 and 3 and their parents have been open with them about how the family came together “since the day they were born,” Knudsen said.
He said anyone thinking about becoming an adoptive parent should “use your imagination to figure out how your life can be enriched by another person,” but realize it will be a long, bureaucratic process.
Jessica Roe, vice president of programs for the adoption advocacy group Raise the Future Nevada, said people considering adoption can learn more by volunteering in support groups or being foster-child advocates.
“Be curious,” she said. “If you have any inkling, or if you're wondering on how you can help these amazing kids in our community, reach out.”
Brian Knudsen, Las Vegas councilman; Jessica Roe, vice president of programs, Raise the Future Nevada