HOUSTON (November 17, 2015) - November is National Adoption Month—a month set aside in the U.S. each year to raise awareness about the thousands of children in foster care waiting for permanent, loving homes. In the Greater Houston area alone, more than 3,000 children reside in foster care, and of these, more than 1,500 are currently available for adoption.

“There is tremendous need for adoptive parents in the Houston area,” says Atasha Kelley-Harris, program manager for adoption and post-adoption services at DePelchin Children’s Center. “We especially need parents willing to adopt teenagers, sibling groups and children with medical challenges.”

Kelley-Harris says that while many families and individuals may desire to adopt, they often do not begin the process as they believe they would not meet necessary requirements.

“People often think that in order to adopt you have to be married, wealthy and own your home,” Kelley-Harris says. “That’s just not the case.”

Minimum requirements include that prospective parents be at least 21 years old, be in good physical health and be able to financially provide for a child.

With the holiday season just around the corner, Kelley-Harris says, families and individuals should thoughtfully consider giving the ultimate gift to a child this year: the gift of family.

“There is no better way to make a difference in the life of a child than by adopting him or her into your family.”