Bellevue Rotary Family Festival, held this year in March, brings together foster kids and parents that are pre-screened and approved for adoption in a fun, family-oriented, and emotionally safe environment. Some of the kids have different abilities, are medically fragile, or hope that their sibling group will remain together. Bellevue Rotary Family Festival has been particularly successful at helping these kids find their forever family.
Here’s how the program works:
The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) invites foster kids and potential parents to the event who have completed the adoption screening process and are ready to adopt.
Bellevue Rotary organizes the event and provides transportation for the kids to and from the event location. Lunch, crafts, games, and prizes are a key part of the event.
Children and potential parents spend the afternoon together playing, having fun, and getting to know each other.
“On average, 30-40 kids attend the event, and typically 50%-80% of the kids are adopted!”
We are particularly proud of the adoption of a 14-year-old young lady, who has been in the foster system for 10 years. She was born without anything below the waist, and adoption has been challenging. She is on dialysis several hours a week, and her doctors have never been able to confidently determine her life expectancy.
Today, this young lady is thriving, despite her medical challenges. She is funny, smart, and with the help of her prosthetics, can even ride a bike! A family visited our event this past March who had four children of their own. They were hoping to adopt but had never dreamed of adopting a medically fragile child. They immediately fell in love with this young lady, and a few months later she officially became part of her forever family.
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Hope, age 15, is in 10th grade and involved in several activities, including AVID, being an ASB-cabinet member, and helping with her school garden. She says her favorite class is biology, while her least favorite is geometry.
Hope is excited to begin driver’s education! In the past she participated in the school talent show committee and helped with auditions. Recently Hope helped at an assembly at school that involved high school sophomores committing to graduate, and she helped with a fundraiser for homeless youth. Hope is also participating at the horse rescue that is down the street from their home on the weekends.
Hope has been matched with a family she met at the event. She has been visiting the family on weekends and wanted to make the move right after school let out for the summer.
The adoption program was originally started by the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club in 2007, and Bellevue Rotary has been involved since 2011.