For immediate release
Saturday, November 20, is National Adoption Day
Honor adoptive families by sharing one mother’s story in print or online
COLUMBUS, OH — My name is Maria Hunte and I live in Columbus, Ohio. I am a single mom of one biological daughter, 16-year-old Jelisa, and five adopted girls: Dominique, 17; Jamilah, 15; Demitria, 13; Latandra, 12; and Giarra, 5.
Jelisa is a very special child with whom I consulted on each and every adoption. She never said no, but openly shared her mom, her home and her life with all of her sisters. She has a huge heart and is loved so much.
I have been a foster mom since 2003. I have fostered 15 kids and adopted five. Jamilah, Demitria and Latandra were my first three girls and were adopted in January of 2006. I had fostered Jamilah for a year before she was reunified with her sisters Demitria and Latandra — who came into my home and became eligible for adoption through Franklin County Children Services.
A home was found for Demitria and Latandra, the two youngest, but Jamilah was to be adopted by a family from out of town. I believed these three girls needed to stay together. They were siblings and only had each other. I decided I wanted to adopt them, but had no idea what the process entailed.
Franklin County was great, and in less than six months, the adoption was finalized. They were my girls. Jelisa was great through the whole process and very excited. She really wanted an older sister but was very content to be the oldest sister to her siblings.
I decided as a foster mom that I wanted to open my home to sibling groups and try to keep them together. I loved kids and my main goal was to be able to offer them a loving home until they were ready for reunification with their families. Kids come into the system with their siblings but are usually separated due to lack of room in foster homes. They are scared. They are taken away from their families and then separated from their siblings. I wanted to make a difference and do what I could to help to keep them together.
My family of two became a family of five and I thought I was done. I guess not.
It has been a few months since I adopted my other two wonderful daughters, Dominique, 17; and Giarra, 5. Giarra was two-and-a-half when she came to us and Dominique was 15 and having a lot of trouble in school. Her grades were down and she was cutting school and did not trust anyone. They were both in need of a loving family and a stable environment.
Giarra and Dominique were adopted on the 26th of August, 2010, and became welcome additions to our already extended family.
You know, people say I am crazy, some say I am blessed, some say I must have a really big heart to take on so many kids. Three of my girls are ADD and ADHD, and one of them has reactive attachment disorder (RAD). I say I must be all three.
My home can be crazy at times. No — my home is crazy all the time with six different female personalities, especially with my RAD child, it can be very challenging, but I would not change it for anything.
There are days when everyone seems to be at odds with each other. There are days when they do not even like each other. But then there are days I can take a step back and observe them tease, laugh and play with each other and it fills my heart with so much joy.
At night when I hear my little one praying for everyone and asking God to bless Mommy I know this is my true calling. God has truly blessed me with my six girls. I could not be happier.
Maybe I will adopt again after some of them leave and move on to live their lives, but my older ones say they will not be leaving. They want to go to college and live at home. They say I just need a bigger home!
If I had to do it again I would do it in a heartbeat. These kids need more families to love and care for them. They need to know that they are wanted and that they are not alone.
Adoption is a wonderful thing. A beautiful feeling. And the need is so great for more adoptive parents. The kids are there. They just need to open their homes and hearts to them and reap the rewards.
Our family has grown and is rich in love. My girls all do very well together and recognize each other as true sisters. We have a great family.
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About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption:
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 150,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Foundation implements results-driven national signature programs, foster care adoption awareness initiatives and research-based advocacy efforts. To learn more, visit www.DaveThomasFoundation.org or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.
About the National Adoption Day Coalition
National Adoption Day is sponsored by a coalition dedicated to improving the lives of children, including The Alliance for Children’s Rights, The Annie E. Casey Foundation/Casey Family Services, Children’s Action Network, The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Freddie Mac Foundation. For more information about the events taking place across the United States and information on National Adoption Day, please visit www.nationaladoptionday.org.
Rita Soronen, Executive Director
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
614-764-8482 or firstname.lastname@example.org