Maya and Hannah spent six long years in and out of foster care as their parents battled addiction. In 2017, the sisters were adopted by Dana and Barbara, of Massachusetts, through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.
The family shared their story with Boston 25 News.
The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, but there’s a side of the opioid epidemic that isn’t often talked about; what happens to children whose parents are addicted to drugs?
Childhood was anything but easy for Maya and Hannah.
“Before Hannah was even born my whole life was just inside a trailer facing a wall while my parents were like doing drugs or something. And we didn’t have running water, we would literally go to the bathroom in bags and cups,” said Maya of Middleborough.
At just 6 years old, Maya and her baby sister were put into the foster care system. For years, they were in and out of different homes.
“Since I always had Maya by my side, it kind of made it a little easier for me,” said Hannah.
Sadly, their heartbreaking situation is not unique.
A new federal report shows more than one-third of children who came into foster care in 2018 were removed from their homes because their parents were abusing drugs.
“We’ve seen a significant increase over the past 5 years of children and families impacted particularly by the opioid and heroin epidemic. So we’re seeing double-digit increases in so many states of children entering care simply because their parents can’t take care of them, or they’re seeing their families die in front of them, or their parents are incarcerated,” said Rita Soronen, CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption specializes in finding homes for children like Maya and Hannah.
Three years ago, the foundation helped the girls find their forever with the family.
“We like the chaos and the noise,” said Barbara. “We knew it was going to be a great experience, we didn’t realize how great of an experience it was going to be and how much they were going to add to our family.”
“If anyone was considering adopting I would say take the leap, jump in, start the process,” said Dana.
“They make me be the best I can, my best self, they’re my biggest fans and it’s, drugs isn’t their biggest fan, alcohol isn’t their biggest fan… I’m their biggest fan, they’re my biggest fan,” said Maya.
While she’s just 17, Maya already knows she wants to pay that love forward, “I definitely do want to adopt and foster, that is definitely something I WILL do.”
Read more about Maya and Hannah’s story.