National Adoption Awareness Month: local woman has fostered 20+ children, adopted 2

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-November is National Adoption Awareness Month. 

“Everybody needs a home. and everybody needs to belong,” said Family Enrichment Center Director of Programs Lee Fowlkes. 

The Family Enrichment Center celebrates the beginning of the month with a proclamation by city officials. 

“In the last year there were 116 adoptions that occurred through the state,” said Fowlkes. 

That number is great. But staff say they want to do more. Right now, there are nearly 2,000 children waiting to be adopted just in Kentucky. 

Warren County resident Marilyn ‘JaQuell’ Vantrease is working to change that narrative through fostering children. 

“I’ve had over 20 kids that have come into my heart and left as well,” said Vantrease. 

When she was growing up, she had a friend who opened their home to her. 

“I always wanted to pay it forward,” said Vantrease. 

And she has. She’s adopted two of the kids she’s fostered, Felicia and Tyler. 

“They have a forever family and my family does not see them as fostered or adopted children, they see them as family,” said Vantrease. 

Vantrease said it takes a village, and that her village has been incredible at helping her. If you can’t adopt, there’s other ways you can help out.

“We hope that people will consider it. And consider, even if they can’t adopt, maybe there’s a way they can support people who want to adopt,” said Fowlkes.