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Adoption in Arkansas

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LITTLE ROCK -

Arkansas currently has 4,000 children in foster care...and about 500 of those kids are ready and waiting to be adopted.

Those numbers sound daunting, but progress is being made.  

150 of those 500 kids hoping for a forever family live in Pulaski County.  But the numbers got a bit better today.

Balloons are released into the Little Rock sky…red representing kids who have been adopted and purple representing kids waiting to be adopted.

On this day alone, 13 young lives turn from purple to red.

"They were dancing and singing," shares Shauna Gould of Maumelle.  "This is our adoption day!"

Arkansas' foster care system placed three children into Steve and Shauna's home 14 months ago.

Joel, Virginia and Linda are now officially Goulds…just like the biological children that came before them.

"We've already been through the diaper duty," says Gould.  "And there is enough people that want the babies. But there is not enough that want the older children."

In fiscal year 2010 the state finalized 580 adoptions. Last year it was 583. This fiscal year…adoptions jumped to 703.

"Every foster child has a family waiting for him or her," says juvenile judge Joyce Warren.  "It is our collective responsibility to do all that we can to find just the right home for that child."

"I've had several people come up to me today and say 'You know, they are so blessed to have you and your wife and your family to adopt them,' says William West of Monticello.  "Well let me tell you something…we're the blessed ones."

William and Debra West added a sibling group of four to their family of four today.

To view the Heart Gallery, a collection of pictures of children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted, click here. 

For more information on adoption in Arkansas, there are two non-profit organizations eager to help.  To learn more about The C.A.L.L., click here.  To learn more about Project Zero, click here.  

Air date:  November 15th, 2012