HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Linda Conklin and Adrian Bond have biological children and grandchildren of their own. When they got engaged and planned to get married, however, they knew they wanted to open their homes and hearts to more.
“We love these children, and we want them there and we want to keep them safe,” says Bond.
The couple started fostering. Through the Braley & Thompson agency, the two women connected with five siblings who then ranged in age from two to 14-years-old. They had the option to adopt the youngest and oldest.
“We were told the other children would be placed in other homes,” remembers Bond. “And we said, ‘Absolutely not. We have to keep them together.'”
“So we did,” Conklin nods her head.
That was four years ago, and their memories are countless by now. So are the lessons they have learned about how adoption impacts children.
“We actually fell in love with them,” says Bond. “They just want to be loved. They want to know someone genuinely cares for them, and we do.”
In 2013, Governor Terry McAuliffe launched Virginia Adopts: Campaign for One Thousand to place foster children in permanent homes. A children’s cabinet created a year later also tackles issues affecting the most vulnerable youth.
Conklin and Bond are glad they went this route and got a chance to expand their family by five.
“It’s been good, it really has. We would not change a thing at all,” says Conklin. “It’s rewarding to know when you’ve brightened a child’s life and made a difference.”
Currently, there are about five thousand children in Virginia’s foster system.
According to AdoptUSKids, roughly 1,700 have the goal of adoption and 700 of them are eligible right now. Many of them are 5 to 14-years-old and part of sibling groups.