USA (MNN) — It's a long trip from Texas to Washington, D.C., but two Buckner International families gladly made the trip to discuss adoption issues with their congressmen.
Buckner's Julie Boyd said their stories help policymakers emerge from the political bubble surrounding Capitol Hill.
"It's really good for members of Congress to hear this because they do get a little cut off from day-to-day living," Boyd stated.
There are over 400,000 foster kids in the United States, and Texas holds more than 30,000 of them.
"I think that folks sometimes don't realize how many kids are out there," said Boyd. "The Angels in Adoption program is a wonderful way to get members of Congress involved and really raise awareness that right here in our own backyard, we have children who need homes."
Foster parents Tyler and Alicia Press from Midland, Texas, and Monica and Ivory Garrett from Beaumont, Texas were recognized for their advocacy efforts at the annual Angels in Adoption gala. Angels in Adoption gives members of Congress a chance to honor constituents who have enriched the lives of foster kids and orphans. Representatives of the Lone Star state, Mike Conaway and Ted Poe, nominated the Press and Garrett couples, respectively.
"They had a very productive and meaningful week here," said Boyd, "meeting with members of Congress and celebrating everything they've done for the lives of children in Texas."
The Garrett family raised awareness in their community and church for foster children with disabilities. Over the past few years, Boyd explained, they've welcomed between 8 and 10 disabled children into their home.
"They've really tried to reach out to the rest of the community to let folks know…that so many of these kids end up waiting a very, very long time for 'forever families' because of disabilities," said Boyd. "They just set a great example in their community, and it was something that their congressman really wanted to shine a light on.
"And the Press family has just been amazing," she continued. "They're actually mentors for other Buckner families."
Tyler and Alicia Press mentor approximately 20 other individuals involved with Buckner in the Midland area. They work with couples and individuals who are going through the foster care system, or who have a desire to be foster parents.
"Tyler Press is actually a youth minister," Boyd pointed out. "So he's also reached out at his local church to spread the word about foster care and the very real need that's there."
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"Just as we need a Father God daily in our lives," said Boyd, "these kids need a mom and a dad daily in their lives."
Buckner has a resource page for their foster care and adoption services. Click here to check it out.