Angels in Adoption: Joplin couple receives Congressional award for commitment to foster care system

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“We thought it was a joke at first! I thought it was spam email, thought it was just some silly thing. I almost just deleted it without reading it!”

Zach and Joanna Holden

JOPLIN, Mo.–That was Zach and Joanna Holden’s first reaction when they found out they’ll be going to our Nation’s Capitol to be honored as “Angels in Adoption”.

“It’s through the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in D.C.,” Joanna explained. “So every year, they have their state representatives nominate people in their state that are doing things for adoption and foster care.”

The couple has five kids–two of whom they adopted in their time as foster parents.

“In fostering ourselves, we kind of saw some of the gaps that were there,” Joanna added.

Which is why they helped start Fostering Hope, a Southwest Missouri non-profit that provides encouragement and support to foster families.

“Here where we’re standing is one of our Caring Closets that we provide closing and toys and toiletries to kids,” said Joanna.

Next month, they’ll not only be honored, but get to present their experiences and ideas to lawmakers in D.C.

“We kind of just view it as the opportunity to just represent all of the amazing foster families here in town and in the area,” Zach explained.

And, to advocate for what they feel needs to be changed in the system.

“We feel like it’s really important to have counseling for foster parents where it’s not covered by the state,” Joanna explained. “So, if they don’t have insurance that can cover it, they don’t get it. And those families go through a lot of trauma.”

“Just the support that we as a community can offer foster families and foster children, we could just do a better job of rallying around them,” Zach added.

It’s an opportunity they didn’t expect to get.

“It’s humbling because it feels like you’re just hand-picking a couple people out of a really big group of people who’ve worked really hard,” said Joanna.

But, they are proud to continue to help the more than 470 foster kids in Jasper County alone.

“Just be able to say that there are hundreds, literally hundreds of families out here doing amazing things for foster care,” Zach added.

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