SALEM – You don't have to be married to foster or adopt a child. That's one of the biggest myths.
One single mom in Salem has a big calling and a big family of nine children.
“It’s pretty big and different. We don’t all look the same,” said Wyatt Whitlow, at 17-years-old, he is the second oldest in the Semones family.
He was just 13 when his mom took in a foster child.
“I was jealous at first because I’ve always been the little brother,” said Whitlow. But four years later, the family has grown and he has too. “Some things are meant to be. These kids, I’m supposed to help them. They live with me, they live here, this is their house. I’m going to do what they need me to do. If they need me to pick them up from school, get them breakfast.”
“Seeing them interact and how they love each other every day is a miracle to me, how much they love and support each other and are truly a family. They have each other’s back. That is the best reward of adoption,” said Sophia Semones, who does it all by herself as a single mom. “It’s wonderful if all children can have a mom and a dad but that’s not always the case. No one that is single should be afraid to foster because we are one hundred percent allowed to do it and I think we do a great job at it.”
She says some children actually need to only have a mother in their life while they heal from years of abuse or fears of men.
Semones adopted four children, including 10-year old Ashton.
“This place is very fun and I like everything we do. We go to the beach in the summer, we do a lot of cool activities in the fall and I play football,” he said.
Two more children will be adopted soon.
Whitlow says he’s proud of his mom and he’s learned a lot too.
“It’s taught me to care a little bit more about everything because some people never have half of what others have,” said Whitlow.
“All children need families. It’s very important that we have loving homes for these children that are doing it for the right reasons,” said Semones who encourages you to ask questions if you’re interested in foster care or adoption because many of the fears you have may not be true.
There are more than 700 children who are ready for foster to adoption in Virginia. They are ready to find a permanent and loving forever family. 10 News is profiling one child who needs a home every day at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in 30 Days of Hope. The children are all ages and races and were put into foster care due to no fault of their own. 2019 marks the third year 10 News is doing this series.