Recent Op-Eds

A Forever Home

By Sen. John Thune

November 12, 2021

Each year, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute honors individuals, families, and organizations that make extraordinary contributions to adoption, permanency, and child welfare. As a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, for the last decade, I have had the honor and privilege of nominating South Dakota families who have opened their hearts and homes to children in need.  

This year, I nominated Bridget and Jason Bennett of Sioux Falls for the 2021 Angels in Adoption Award. They have two biological children and officially welcomed 10-month-old Levi into their family on July 14, 2021, after becoming his primary caregivers since his birth.


The Bennetts had known for years that they wanted to adopt, and they officially started the process in September 2018. After years of obstacles and two failed adoptions, the Bennetts continued to hold out hope that they would eventually be selected to provide a better home for a child in need. And just like that, they received a call when Levi’s birth mother was just eight weeks pregnant informing them that she had selected them to be her baby’s adoptive parents.


The Bennetts have been champions of adoption for years, and their story is truly inspiring to all families across South Dakota. I feel privileged to have learned about their adoption journey and to have been able to nominate them for an Angels in Adoption Award this year. I cannot think of a family more deserving of this recognition.


I recently had the opportunity to present the award to the Bennetts in Sioux Falls. And let me tell you, they sure do have their hands full with their three little ones on the run! But it’s clear to anyone who’s around them that they’re loving every single moment of it.


November is National Adoption Month, and November 20 will mark National Adoption Day. During this month, we honor all those families who, like the Bennetts, have chosen to welcome a child in need of a home. Sadly, not every child is born into a safe and loving home. Some are born to parents who, as a result of various circumstances, are unable to take care of them. Others tragically lose their parents at a very young age. And in some of the most unfortunate cases, children are born to parents who simply refuse to take care of them or actively seek to damage the great gift in their care. But thankfully, there are parents out there, just like Bridget and Jason, who are eager to receive these children who need a good home and a loving family.


Across our country, there are countless parents whose homes and hearts are already prepared to welcome a child in need. They may not yet know the names of their future sons or daughters, but they’re ready and waiting to meet them. National Adoption Month is a good time to rededicate ourselves to caring for children in need and helping them find a forever home.


There are few actions more worthy of admiration than a decision to welcome a child in need and create for that child a secure and loving home. I am so grateful for families like the Bennetts who have opened their hearts and found sons and daughters through adoption. I am also thankful for all of the birth mothers who have chosen adoption for their children to give them a better life in a loving family.


This month in particular, I will be keeping all families and birth mothers who are in the adoption process in my prayers, and I hope you’ll join me.