On April 28, a startling listing was found in the “Pets” section of the Oklahoma City Craigslist page. A mother was asking for a family in a good home to take her 10-month-old son after losing the father while she was pregnant.
The mother only responded to a single email at the address left on the ad. She said she knew the ad is hard to believe but it’s true.
"Life is treating me on the bad side leaving me with no option," she said.
According to state law, it is illegal for a parent to give up a child around legal channels after the state’s safe haven law expires.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, roughly 55 percent of Oklahoma children are considered low-income or poor. Lower economics status often lend to the same conditions in which parents are forced to give up children for adoption.
“There are so many people out there that desire to be parents and so it's hard for me to think about those families knowing that those babies are out there,” Dierdre McCool said.
McCool is the executive director of Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption.
“But it's also hard to know that someone is in a position that they feel like they can't be successful in,” continued McCool.
The sad story behind the ad isn't uncommon. In fact, the state is still fighting to find thousands of needy children loving homes for the past eight months. Back in November, Gov. Mary Fallin (R) launched a campaign to create 1000 new foster homes but June 30 to help the more than 11,000 kids under state care.
According to the latest numbers, that number has shrunk to 10,248 children and the state is 222 homes short. A Department of Human Services spokesperson Katelynn Burns said the number is likely lower because they most recent count was done April 30.
Burns added many would-be parents and parents looking to give up children have difficulty finding the appropriate resources to enter into the state system or an adoption program, emphasizing the services DHS provides.
“We don't just throw you into the fire. We are there with you. We have workers who help you and we offer lots of resources to support you through the journey,” Burns said.
The state is still looking for adults to become foster parents. For more information, the state set up a website for would-be parents or guardians to get all the details.