Nearly seven million Americans in the United States are adopted. In 2015, more than 670,000 children spent time in our foster care system. One out of every 25 families with children have an adoptive child.
Families adopt for a number of reasons, but whatever the reason, it is a beautiful and selfless decision.
Joining the U.S. House of Representatives has its rewards – one of them being the people I come across that I normally wouldn’t outside of this job. This year, I had the privilege of nominating Kevin and Megan Kinney for the Angels in Adoption Award. Kevin serves as a Highway Patrolman and Megan is an accomplished author and stay at home mother.
After they had their oldest daughter Emma, they felt called by God to participate in South Dakota’s foster care program. Soon after joining the foster care system, they brought three sisters – Angel, Alicia, and Kylee – into their home. All of the girls were under the age of three when Kevin and Megan became their foster parents.
The Kinneys instantly fell in love with their new additions and decided to take the big step and adopt them, making Angel, Alicia, and Kylee permanent members of the Kinney clan. Even though the Kinneys knew it would be an adventure to adopt all three young children, they understood the importance of not separating the bond of sisterhood.
Every child deserves to be a part of a family that loves and supports them. Stories like these hit close to home for me and my staff. In preparing this week’s column, I asked one of my staffers, who is adopted, for input. He was born to an 18-year-old girl out of wedlock. Unable to afford a child at the time, she decided to put him up for adoption.
He was adopted by a great family that lives just down the road from me in Mitchell. He is forever grateful for his parents’ leap of faith and for his birthmother in allowing him to experience the full life he is living today. Adoption creates a ripple effect of love. It’s an antidote to agonizing, painful situations. My staffer described it as the gift of life.
The Kinneys are more than deserving of the Angels in Adoption Award. Folks ranging from Muhammad Ali to First Lady Laura Bush have been recipients of this award. I’m proud to partner with an organization like Angels in Adoption which celebrates families, individuals, and organizations across the country that have made a remarkable contribution to children in need of families. Please join me in thanking the Kinneys, and the rest of our adoptive and foster families in South Dakota, for stepping up when children need them the most.