Families helping families

(Journal stock photo.)

Every year, as a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I have the privilege of nominating a person or a family for the Angels in Adoption Award. It recognizes the outstanding contributions of the men and women—moms and dads—across the country who have chosen to adopt or foster children who are in need.

In normal times, the award winners and their families would travel to Washington to accept this recognition, and I typically have the opportunity to meet with them to hear their stories in person. I am always inspired by their journey and selflessness, often having to make big sacrifices in order to give adopted or fostered children a better future.

Although this year’s event will look a bit different as we continue to adapt to life during the coronavirus pandemic, I was nonetheless honored to nominate the Prins family, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for this year’s award. I’m looking forward to meeting with them so I can to pass along my congratulations and present their award.

Like most adoption and foster stories, the Prins family story is unique. Although they have no adopted children, Tami and Jason’s journey is just as important to the children they’ve helped throughout the years. This now-family-of-eight answered God’s call and has been a foster family for multiple children through Bethany Christian Services in Sioux Falls.

Tami and Jason are also involved with Safe Families for Children, a program that helps support parents who are experiencing a difficult time, such as homelessness or incarceration, and can even help prevent children from entering the foster care program altogether. Through Safe Families for Children, the Prinses have obtained legal guardianship of a young child in need, Cam’raya, and they have worked to maintain a relationship with her birth mother, whom they now consider family, throughout their host family experience.

It’s an understatement to say that the Prins family’s dedication to serve and provide care has had a positive and life-changing effect, both on Cam’raya and the rest of their family. The Prinses remain involved with Safe Families for Children today, making every-day sacrifices to ensure children in transition, like Cam’raya, have a place to call home.

While 2020 has been an especially hard year, families like this one have made lives better during these tough times. I congratulate them on receiving this year’s well-deserved Angels in Adoption Award, and I appreciate everything that they, and everyone else throughout our state, do to give children a more promising tomorrow.

—U.S. Sen. John Thune is from South Dakota.