On a Monday morning in April, the Guntz family gathered at the Montgomery County Courthouse for the final step in what has been years in the making – the adoption of little two-year old Austin.
“We love kids and we really want to give them a family that can give them the love and care to help them develop their potential,” said Susan Guntz.
Susan and her husband Harold, of Collegeville, have served as foster parents with The Salvation Army since 2013, providing a safe and loving home to many children in need. The Guntzs adopted Austin’s two biological sisters in 2016, now ages 5 and 11. Around that time, the girls’ biological mother also gave birth to a baby boy. Austin came to live with the Guntz family when he was just two months old.
“This is a day we’ve been looking forward to for a long time – really since he was born,” Harold explained.
There are an estimated 2,500 children waiting to be adopted in the state of Pennsylvania. Approximately 13,000 – 15,000 children are currently in foster care in Pennsylvania and part of the child welfare system. The need for loving families who are willing to open their hearts and their homes is great. The Salvation Army’s Children’s Services received 521 referrals for foster care over the last year, doubling from the year before (256). Children referred the most often are age birth to 8 years of age. Foster care families are needed, particularly for young children and sibling groups, and adoptive families for school-aged children and sibling groups.
“Susan and Harold truly demonstrate the selflessness, love and compassion of foster and adoptive families,” said Florence Rhue, Director, The Salvation Army Children’s Services.
After some brief testimony from the couple, the judge made it official. Austin is forever a member of the Guntz family. This brings their number of children to ten, including both biological and adopted.
Austin couldn’t understand the significance of the day, but as she left the courtroom,
Susan broke down thinking about what this means for the sibling set.
“I was so happy for these girls. I was so happy for them that they get to live with him and grow up with him and be a part of his life,” she said. “It just means a lot to us.”
Since 1915, The Salvation Army Children’s Services has been connecting children with safe, loving, and caring homes and families in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys through temporary foster care and permanent adoption. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about adoption and foster care, visit www.Care4Kids.net.