A Hidden Hero: Kim Holmes

The foster care/adoption world isn’t an easy one to navigate. It can be filled with frustration, heartbreak and tears just as often as it can success and joy. It takes exceptional individuals to navigate the system and fight day in and day out for these children. From caseworkers to non-profits to advocates, they passionately believe in a permanent family out there for every waiting child.

 

In honor of those who fight to match children with these families, this month the SC Heart Gallery Foundation blog is dedicated to these “hidden heroes”. This week, we are proud to recognize Kim Holmes, DSS Adoption Specialist with Region III Adoptions.

 

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After growing up in rural Johns Island, Kim studied pre-law in college and then found herself working at DSS which, which she says was only supposed to be for only a year or two. Today, Kim has been with DSS for 26 years.

 

A highlight of her career was the “Luggage Of Love” campaign with Region III Adoptions, in which luggage was donated and used to help children move as needed. Kim had the vision to start the initiative and enlisted the help of another adoption worker to help get it off the ground.

 

She explains, “When many of my children were being moved from a foster to adoptive homes, I grew tired of their belongings being handed to me in black garbage bags.”

 

“The result was overwhelming, as we now have several pieces of luggage for children as they transition from foster care to adoption,” she adds.

 

Kim says that she always found it particularly sad when a child didn’t have a family of their own—not only to the child but to their self esteem as well.

 

“I have a passion for older teens as they always feel as though their chance at a family is a lost cause and that no one will want them after a certain age,” Kim says. “Teens are no different than anyone else. They are at the critical stage where they need someone in their life before stepping into adulthood.”

 

Fitting to the name “hidden hero”, Kim is truly a selfless servant in her role with children.

 

She explains, “You have to have compassion for what you do and understand that sometimes your day will not perfectly end at 5pm…In the end, that child will appreciate what you do for them. The reward that I get is at the finalization hearing in the form of silent tears. It gives me joy to see children smiling and bonding with their new family. When we hug each other after the sound of the judge’s gavel hitting the bench, it merely means that I am passing the DSS torch to the new family with the understanding that they will continue to be the light in the eyes of these young souls and help them become responsible productive adults one day.”

 

Thank you, Kim, for your selfless service to South Carolina’s waiting children.

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to show our appreciation for the foster families who care for children and youth, and the social workers who support them. Over the next 31 days, we acknowledges foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections.

 

During National Foster Care Month, the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation renews its commitment to fighting for the 660 children who are waiting to be adopted in South Carolina. We also celebrate the stories of children who have found their forever families thanks to the work of all those involved in their lives.

 

There are several ways YOU can participate in National Foster Care Month too! Following are some quick and easy steps you can take to join others in supporting our children in foster care. So, even if you don’t do anything else this month, please take a moment now to…

 

·      Share this blog post on your Facebook page.

 

·      Invite a friend to “Like” the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation on Facebook.

 

·      Add the link to the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation to your email signature.

 

·      Donate to support the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation.

 

Thank you for joining us in support of National Foster Care Month, and thank you for your heart for South Carolina’s waiting children.

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Children’s Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

An Adoption Story: Tori Sizemore, Miss SC Teen USA 2013

Growing up in Anderson, SC, with three younger biological brothers, Tori always wanted a sister. She begged her parents to consider adopting a little girl, but they remained undecided—until their phone rang early one morning. A family friend, who happened to be an adoption attorney, was on the other line. She said that a little girl needed a home—that same day—and asked if the family would consider adopting her. They took it as a sign and agreed. Later that afternoon, Tori and her parents picked up the newest member of their family.

 

Tori immediately took to her little sister and became like her second mother. Today, she can’t imagine life without her.

“I knew what my family had to offer a little girl, but what I didn’t expect was how much love and joy she would bring to us. That’s the incredible thing about adoption—you are blessed just as much as you are a blessing,” Tori said.

 

A few years later, Tori’s family expanded once again through another adoption—this time twin girls. Tori, who once could only dream of having a little sister, now had three.

 

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Photo courtesy of Amanda Ferguson

 

During her junior year of high school, Tori decided to participate in a pageant to help her overcome her stage fright. She was a natural and, after a few more pageants, was crowned Miss South Carolina Teen USA 2013. During her reign, Tori worked tirelessly for her platform of “educating, inspiring, and equipping families to impact the next generation through foster care and adoption.”

 

Now a freshman at Anderson University, Tori is settling into life as a typical college student, while still being close enough to home to stay involved in her siblings’ lives. In December, she graciously appeared in a commercial for the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation, continuing her advocacy for our state’s waiting children.

“I am thrilled that I have found a new way to further the cause of adoption with the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation,” Tori says. “This organization is a fantastic representation of the impact caring individuals have and will make in the lives of so many foster children, and I am grateful to be a part of it!”

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Children’s Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.