Senator John Thune
Like many South Dakotans, I am extraordinarily blessed to have a wonderful family built on a foundation of love, respect, trust, and faith. With the guidance of my mom and dad, I learned the importance of education and the value of hard work. My family supported my successes and helped me learn from my failures. However, it was not until Kimberley and I had our first daughter that I understood the magnitude and responsibility of being a parent. Nothing I have done in life or ever will do can compare to the joy and rewards that come with being a dad.
Sadly, many children will never know what it means to have a father or a family, someone to cheer on their baseball team or put a Band-Aid on their knee. Family is just a word in the storybooks for thousands of children across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services there are more than 114,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted in the United States. These children have entered the foster care system through no fault of their own, often as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Often families shy away from adoption due to the perceived high cost and uncertainty associated with the process. That is why I have and continue to support the federal adoption tax credit that attempts to alleviate some of the financial barriers for families wanting to provide nurturing homes for children in need of a loving family.
Earlier this month, I nominated Ryan and Amber Johnson from Sioux Falls for the “Angels in Adoption” award which is presented annually by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. This young couple is an example of what it means to be true heroes. They have overcome personal struggles and have used their life lessons to create a warm, loving home for children in need of a nurturing environment to grow and develop.
Every child deserves a place to call home and a loving family to support them. Through adoption, children get loving and supportive families and families are blessed with new lives to nurture. I commend the many families across our state who have opened their hearts and homes to children in need. I hope that the work and uplifting efforts of people like the Johnsons will continue to inspire other South Dakota families to make a difference in the life of a child.