There are a few special people who take the leap of becoming a mother or father to a child who doesn't have anyone to take care of them. Those who choose to adopt are angels to children who would otherwise never have a roof over their head or good role models.
Dionne Komm, of Thayer, is an adoption specialist with the Adopt America Network and has been able to place children in good homes in the Thayer area and also around the country.
According to AAN, "Adopt America Network was founded in 1983 as AASK-Midwest (Adopt A Special Kid) by Richard Ransom."
"Ransom recognized there was a huge difference between the lives of children who had a place to call home and those who were housed in public institutions of America's foster care system. He saw that children with families had hope, stability and the loving guidance that was so sorely missing from the lives of the children who were wards of the state," says AAN.
According to AAN there are about 500,000 children living in foster care, and about 119,000 of these children are waiting to be adopted into a good home. Komm said many of those waiting to be adopted are boys around the age of 10. Some children are siblings who don't want to be separated. There are times, however, Komm said, when previous circumstances have separated siblings for such a long period of time that they don't know each other.
Komm said AAN is a free service for those looking to adopt a child. Unlike other adoption agencies that do charge for services, AAN is a nonprofit adoption agency, which receives about 85 percent of its annual funding from donations and fundraising.
Komm also has three adopted children of her own, who she adopted using AAN, and one biological child. She said those who are first time adoptive parents can turn to her when they have questions because of her experience. "I can give them a little bit of insight," Komm said. "I get to know each of my families."
Komm said she has profiles of prospective adoptive families and of children who are ready to be adopted. She uses these profiles to look for compatible matches between child and family.
But, the adoption specialist doesn't do all the work in getting a good home for a child. The prospective parents also have training to do. "They (the parents) must be committed," Komm said.
The parents have to go through training to become an adoptive family. Komm said these training classes can last several weeks and are once a week for two to three hours. The classes are scheduled in fairly close locations to where the adoptive family lives, such as West Plains or Alton.
Komm said adoptive parents learn about transitioning children into their new home, the legal implications of adopting, forms of abuse the child may have suffered in the past and any medical conditions their child may have. A home study is also performed before the family is certified to adopt a child.
Komm also has access to all social workers across the country, so she's not limited to helping children just in the Adopt America Network but across the U.S. and, sometimes, in other countries.
All training and services through AAN are free of charge. Komm said this is important to prospective adoptive families because it frees up money to be spent elsewhere. "If you're getting ready to have a child in your home, there's things needed (to spend money on) rather than spending it on an adoption agency," Komm said.
Those who have questions or are interested in adopting can call Komm at 417-264-7676 or 417-264-2596 or stop by Southern Stone Company at 509 N. Highway 19/Business 63 in Thayer and ask for Dionne.