Exciting updates on children featured during 30 Days of Hope

“It’s a win-win across the board.”

ROANOKE, Va. – There are hundreds of kids in Virginia waiting to be adopted into a loving and safe family. For the fourth year, WSLS 10 News did a series called ’30 Days of Hope’ highlighting just some of them.

In November, during a pandemic, DePaul Community Resources saw the biggest numbers they’ve ever seen of people wanting more info on how to foster and adopt.

We have some exciting updates on children featured during 30 Days of Hope.

We first met Mariana when she was 12-years-old.

“What’s a cat’s favorite color?” she jokes. “Purrr-pule!”

We asked Mariana if she could pick the kind of family she wanted, what kind of family would she pick?

“One that won’t leave me,” she said.

One year later in 2019, she was still waiting for a family and featured again on 30 Days of Hope. It was those 30 Days of Hope videos that led to a family out of state.

“We didn’t find a family for her in the entire state of Virginia and through 30 Days of Hope and using that as part of her recruitment we found someone outside the state which is very much close to a miracle,” said Ben Jones, Roanoke County Department of Social Services Supervisor.

“I think the video itself was something that drew the family in. I think it was something that made them more interested to know more. It was more than just a photo, it was more than just a paragraph written about her, " said Morgan Bays-Simpson, a former Roanoke County DSS adoption specialist. “It played a key role in them being interested to know more.”

Bays-Simpson was her case worker and they still keep in touch.

“We’ve been through a lot of difficult, failed placements together and so seeing that she is now in a placement that’s on the road to adoption is extremely encouraging,” said Bays-Simpson.

We featured Cody last year, who loves football.

30 Days of Hope re-connected the 8-year-old with a local family he lost touch with.

“It was very encouraging to know that we had local homes that wanted to get to know him more and know more information about him, to potentially become his family,” said Casey Figgins, a Roanoke County family services specialist.

“The Roanoke Valley is really fortunate to have 30 Days of Hope. No other region has such an impactful program to highlight adoptable kids every year,” said Jones. “I strongly feel that matches are made all over the place through this program over the years.”

Jones says there is always a surge of questions about foster care and adoption during and after 30 Days of Hope.

“It’s a win-win across the board. We definitely feel the influx of people whose minds are open and whose hearts are open by the spots, by the kids and even if an inquiring family isn’t matched with a specific child we are able to connect them with our program and hopefully connect them with another child that is a better match for their family,” said Jones. “This program shows that not only are they not forgotten but we are willing to raise them up and ask our larger community, ‘Aren’t these kids worth loving?’”

Every year, WSLS 10 News also gets messages of families wanting to provide Christmas presents or businesses wanting to mentor teens so they had more skills after graduation.

We’re planning for this year’s 30 Days of Hope already. Look for it around November.

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 profiled 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. 2020 marks the fourth year 10 News is doing this series.

About the Author

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.

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