Brilliant Idea Creates ‘Reel’ Hope for Kids in Foster Care

“When you ask an agency about a kid that you’re interested in adopting, the first thing you get is a history of everything terrible that’s ever happened to them and how it manifests in their lives,” Stanley explains. “It’s a horrible way to meet somebody. Yes, those challenges are real, but also this is still a kid. They have a laugh and a smile. They’re goofy. Our videos accompany that harder information and are a tool to share the beautiful things with families.”

Reel Hope’s mission is to find a forever family for every child, so in addition to distributing the videos online, they also visit churches across Minnesota every week to share these kids’ stories, answer questions, and promote adoption among people of faith. “The church has such a beautiful heart for the orphan and widow,” Stanley says. “It’s not that we don’t care about kids in foster care—it’s just adopting from foster care typically is not the narrative we think of when we imagine adoption.”

On any given day in Minnesota, there are around 10,000 kids in foster care, Stanley says. About 90% of those kids will eventually get to go back home to their families, but the other 10% become wards of the state. “There are 4,000 churches in Minnesota and 1,000 kids waiting for families,” Stanley says. “That means if just one family out of every four churches comes forward to adopt, every kid would have a home.”

“I think my passion for adoption really comes from my understanding that I am adopted as a child of God. Even when I brought nothing to the table, even with my challenges and issues, God still declared that I was worth it.”

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