Van Nuys, CA 91407
Supervisor, 5th District
500 West Temple Street, Rm 869
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dear Mr. Antonovich: November 13, 2002
By now, you must know me -- community activist, ex-candidate for secession, crime fighter, quality-of-life fighter, and more. In some of my endeavors where no one would listen, you came to the rescue. For that I am grateful. Now I would like you to listen to my plan to significantly increase county adoptions.
I am a senior. When I went on social security at age 62 (I'm now 66), I was pleasantly surprised to find out that since I had a minor adopted child living with me and my wife, that our child (Kathrina) was entitled to half the amount that I would collect in social security and my wife Ines, who is not a senior and does not work, also would get half of the amount (for being a care giver) that I would receive. Who says the government doesn't value homemakers?
The social security money we receive does not effect the assistance we get from the county and none of the money is taxable (at least not in my income bracket). Here's what Ines and I were awarded with one minor child (we have since adopted two more):
My basic SS income is $880/mo Kathrina's SS is $440/mo Ines' SS is $440/mo County assistance is $460/mo Our total assistance is $2,220/mo (it's actually higher, $3,120/mo, now that we have adopted two more children from the county). In addition, the children get full medical and dental care provided through MediCal.
There are thousands of foster children in the county's foster program who need a family to adopt them. But there aren't enough families to go around -- consequently, thousands of children live their entire youth (to 18) under foster care without ever knowing the joy of being part of a family.
Several years ago, it occurred to me that there are probably many vibrant and healthy seniors such as myself who would cherish the opportunity to adopt a child, but do not have enough income to support their desire and do not know of the assistance they would receive if they did adopt.
I already have grown children from another marriage, but having children in later life was not an issue with Ines and me. I find having children at my age to be "youth medicine."
I have spoken to several case workers and most recently, to Children's Alliance, about launching a program to reach out to seniors to adopt. I have also personally met and written to Irene Tovar, President of Latin American Civic Association (our oldest daughter previously attended the LACA Head Start in Van Nuys, and presently our middle daughter is attending the same preschool -- in 1999, I received the Volunteer of the Year award from Head Start). But I can't seem to get anyone excited about the idea. Knowing that you are one of the key supervisors involved in county foster and adoption, I wanted to get your opinion of my idea and whether you would be interested in promoting such a program. Of course I would help in any way I could -- perhaps a "Poster Senior."
Perhaps a meeting with my family and me would be in order.
I look forward to your comments