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Seminar to educate Randolph members on adoption process

By David DeKunder | 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs | Sept. 7, 2007

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — As more children are being put into foster homes because of neglect, abuse and emotional problems, the need for loving homes for adopted children becomes more and more prevalent. 

Team Randolph members who are considering adoption can learn more about the adoption process at an educational seminar Thursday at 6 p.m. at the base theater. 

The seminar will have social workers and professionals from various public and private adoption agencies such as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in attendance to provide information and answer questions. 

The seminar is open to all of Team Randolph and other active-duty military from the local area. 

Tech Sgt. Mark Reuss, Air Force Personnel Center, and his wife, Ruth, decided they wanted to add to their family by adopting two girls, who had been in foster care for three years. For them, it was a matter of providing a better home for two girls who had gone through so much. 

"People need to make sure their heart is into it, that their families are ready for it and that they really want to do it because it takes a lot of dedication," he said. "Something I have learned about adoption is that it takes patience. It took us nine months to adopt." 

People who want to adopt a child have to go through several steps before the process is completed. 

Sergeant Reuss said he spotted the girls, ages 14 and 9, on the Texas Adoptive Resource Exchange through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Web site. 

The Reuss family found out that the girls were sisters and had been placed in foster homes in the San Antonio area. The sergeant said he was able to start a relationship with the 9-year-old girl immediately. 

"Beginning in July, I met three times with the 9-year-old and I talked to her on the phone every day," he said. 

She started living with the Reuss family in early August. At first the 14-year-old did not want to be adopted, but a weekend visit with her small sister in late August changed that. 

"She stayed with us for the weekend and then asked my wife if we could adopt her," Sergeant Reuss said. 

Sergeant Reuss said the girls are getting used to life living on base; they have already started school. The 14-year-old is a freshman at Randolph High School and the 9-year-old is going to Randolph Elementary School. 

"The girls we adopted are very intelligent and athletic," he said. "Despite all of the challenges they have gone through, both girls were accepted by the Texas Gifted and Talented Club. They are very brilliant girls. I don't consider them adopted. I consider them my children." 

From what he has learned, Sgt. Reuss said there are 4,000 foster children in Texas who are looking for a home. 

"A lot of these children want to be adopted," he said. "If you adopt you are helping a child get a second chance." 

For more information on the adoption seminar, contact Sergeant Reuss at 565-4363.