It's a cold Saturday morning in Greeley, Colorado. Megan Magel and I sit in her car, waiting for someone to open the back door of Journey Christian Church. Megan's trunk and backseat are filled with file boxes, snacks, extension cords, and a small sign that reads “Project 1.27 Training.”
The executive pastor, Chadwick Kellenbarger, and his wife and 13-year-old daughter soon arrive. They're among the 100 or so people gathering this morning to learn more about foster parenting. Nationally, children in foster care total about 440,000—a number that has steadily risen as the opioid epidemic has worsened. About a quarter became eligible for adoption after their parents' rights were severed. In almost every state, officials report a severe shortage of families to take in these children. Public information campaigns abound. Last year, for instance, state agencies and the federal adoption website AdoptUSKids tried to use the buzz around the Mark Wahlberg movie Instant Family to spark interest in foster care.