A Message from Rita Soronen About the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted on March 19, 2020

Dear Friends,

The last few weeks have been incredibly uncertain, as the world navigates the most serious global health crisis we have faced in our lifetime, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Schools are closed, non-essential workers are staying home and social distancing has become essential. We are all trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and stay connected while protecting our health and wellbeing and that of those we hold dear.

Now, imagine living through this pandemic without the stable love of a permanent parent, whose consistent presence, more than anything else, assures you that everything will be okay.

Our work at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has been anything but “business as usual,” and our dedication to serving children waiting to be adopted from foster care is more important than ever.

You may be wondering how this pandemic is affecting the children and teens we serve. This is what we know:

  • Due to extensive trauma and the ever-present stress that it causes, and the circumstances they have endured, children and teens in foster care often have a higher rate of acute health conditions than the general population.
  • Thousands of youth across this country who are living in institutional or congregate care settings may be at an increased risk of becoming infected. Even if they remain healthy, they are separated from their communities and are often without the connection of technology, leading to enhanced social isolation and psychological harm.
  • As foster families increasingly manage sickness and unemployment, many children in foster care may have to move to another family. Again.
  • Students who have found a way to be in college, even without the support of a permanent family, may now have nowhere to go, as campuses are shut down across the country.

I was recently interviewed by The Chronicle of Social Change about how the Foundation has temporarily pivoted our approach to child-focused recruitment to ensure the health and wellbeing of our staff, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters and the children and families they serve. While the way recruiters work must be in alignment with guidelines set forth by the CDC, and their state and/or agency policies, their unwavering commitment to finding forever families for children in foster care who need our help the most remains unchanged.

Nonprofit organizations provide one of the most critical safety nets in this country and our work cannot stop, even in times like these. Please consider making a gift today to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption so that we can continue to serve even more of our nation’s most vulnerable youth who need our help — right now. Together, we will ensure that every child has a loving, permanent home, where they can feel safe from this and every other storm.

All good wishes,

Rita Soronen
President & CEO

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