U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today acknowledged National Adoption Month and discussed the important role adoption plays in the United States. Thune also recognized the Mike and Kim Adams family, Sioux Falls residents whom he nominated earlier this year for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angels in Adoption Award. Thune met with the Adams family earlier today in Washington, D.C.
Click here to watch Thune’s speech.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, November is National Adoption Month, and later this morning I’ll be spending time with the family I nominated to receive an Angels in Adoption award this year.
“The Angels in Adoption Program is designed to bring recognition to individuals and organizations who are, in the words of the program, “making extraordinary contributions to adoption, permanency, and child welfare.”
“Angels in Adoption is a program of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and each year members of Congress are invited to nominate an individual or family to receive an Angels in Adoption award.
“I’ve been making these nominations for more than a decade now.
“And it has been a privilege and an inspiration to meet South Dakota families who have opened their hearts and homes to children in need.
“This year, I nominated Mike and Kim Adams, fellow residents of Sioux Falls.
“Mike and Kim have a tremendous heart for children.
“They have five biological children, but as they learned more about the plight of children in poverty, they were drawn to adoption.
“God put the country of Ethiopia on their hearts in a particular way, and in 2008, they adopted a daughter from Ethiopia, Eva.
“Within a few years, they had adopted three more children – Selena and Amanuel, from Ethiopia, and Shakira, from Uganda – making them a family of 11.
“But the story doesn’t end there.
“Seeing the poorest of the poor in Ethiopia deeply moved them, and in addition to adoption they sought ways to help communities stuck in poverty.
“The needs of children were particularly close to their hearts, and in 2013 Mike and Kim agreed to take over two schools in Ethiopia when the agency running them was forced to pull out of the country.
“The Adams formed the Adams Thermal Foundation to support the schools.
“Today the foundation supports more than 1,000 students in two schools in Ethiopia.
“The schools’ mission is to serve children most in need, those who might otherwise miss out on the opportunity for an education.
“In addition to academic instruction, the schools provide other resources in an effort to alleviate some of the effects of poverty and make it easier for the children to stay in school.
“To name one example, at the end of last year the foundation completed a project to provide a permanent source of clean water to its school in Ottoro, Ethiopia, as well as to seven local villages.
“In addition to providing essential health and sanitation benefits, the new pipeline also frees children from the hours-long task of fetching water for their families, meaning that more children can attend school.
“Mr. President, in learning Mike and Kim’s story I was struck by how love multiplies and expands.
“Mike and Kim’s willingness to open their hearts has led not only to four children finding a forever home, but to hope and opportunity for hundreds more.
“I feel privileged to have learned their story and to be able to nominate them for an Angels in Adoption Award this year.
“Mr. President, National Adoption Month is a chance to honor all those who, like the Adams, 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 are unable to take care of them.
“Some lose their parents to war, or accident, or illness.
“And tragically, some are born to parents who refuse to take care of them or actively seek to damage the great gift in their care.
“But thankfully, there are parents out there eager to receive these children.
“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 loving families to receive them.
“Mr. President, in the gospel of Mark, Jesus says, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.”
“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 all the generous families around this country 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.
“And I’m honored to be able to recognize the Adams family today for their embrace of their own adopted children as well as everything they’ve done to make life better for children in Ethiopia.”