‘I’m the only one without parents’: 30 Days of Hope a huge success

All these kids had one wish - for a family to adopt them and love them

ROANOKE, Va.There are more than 750 children who are ready for adoption in Virginia. They are ready to find a permanent and loving forever family. 10 News is sharing the stories of one child who needs a home every day in November in 30 Days of Hope. The children are of all ages and races and were put into foster care due to no fault of their own. 2023 marks the seventh year 10 News is doing this series.

Over 30 days in November, we highlighted 30 kids who can be adopted during 30 Days of Hope. Now in its seventh year, this series once again had a huge impact!

All these kids had one wish: for a family to adopt them and love them.

“A lot of times, I feel like I’m left out, and I feel like I’m the only one without parents,” said 16-year-old Grayson.

“I want to be a part of a family. I want a good family. I feel like they could protect me easier,” said Joseph, a 14-year-old.

“My favorite holiday is Christmas because we get presents, and we get to spend time with our family,” said 9-year-old Karma.

Grayson, Joseph and Karma were just some of the faces you saw during 30 Days of Hope.

“I spoke to a lot of eager families that wanted to know, ‘Hey, I saw Josiah. I saw this kid, that kid I want them,’ so that part really did warm my heart,” said Chris Claiborne, with the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Claiborne took many of your calls and answered your emails. He said after seeing our stories during 30 Days of Hope, 500 people reached out saying they were interested in foster care and adoption. Most of those families are from Virginia, but some people reached out from other states too.

“It really warms my heart to see that our children are being featured and people are open to opening their homes, to giving our children their forever family, and that not only forever family, but helping our children in Virginia in foster care, permanency,” said Claiborne.

Departments of social services all over Virginia are overwhelmed with the number of kids they have in care.

“It’s an issue that every department of social services is concerned about, whether they have 10 kids in foster care or whether they have over 200 kids in foster care. It’s an issue that every department, from the state level to the local level that we’re definitely concerned about,” said Gwen Coleman, Director of Human and Social Services for Roanoke City.

“Our numbers here at Montgomery are primarily teens, and they deserve an opportunity to have a normal home life just like any other youth of any age,” said Heather Linkous, Foster Care and Adoption Family Services supervisor for Montgomery County.

They do have that chance at a typical home life now because of you and more people signing up to make a difference in the lives of children.

“It means permanency. It means forever families, finding homes for them and just getting them connected with mentors,” said Claiborne. “I hope that it is able to continue because I did receive a lot of calls from families that saw our children, and they really wanted to know how they can help, ‘What can we do, especially for those that are 16 and 17?′”

But it’s not just about adoption. Virginia Kids Belong said one of the other benefits of 30 Days of Hope is the pool of potential foster parents that’s created.

They said, “This campaign does so much more than find kids adoptive homes. It raises the awareness of the needs of all kids in foster care.”

If you are interested or have questions about foster care/adoption, contact the VDSS Division of Family Services Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at adoptioninquiries@dss.virginia.gov.

There are about 5,000 children in Virginia’s foster care program and more than 750 of those children can be adopted. If you have questions about foster care/adoption, contact the VDSS Division of Family Services Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at adoptioninquiries@dss.virginia.gov.

To see other 30 Days of Hope stories visit us here.

We also have a list of frequently asked questions about foster care and adoption including the qualifications, cost, and training required in this link.

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.