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.

 

Holmes

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.

 

A Hidden Hero: Michael Haley

We have the pleasure of meeting some pretty incredible people through our work–people who stand up on behalf of children in South Carolina who don’t have families of their own. This month the SC Heart Gallery Foundation blog is dedicated to these “hidden heroes”. Though we know there are hundreds out there, we will be identifying jut a few of them each week.

 

To kick off this series, we’ll start with South Carolina’s First Gentleman, Michael Haley.

Haley

Photo courtesy of Associated Press

 

As someone who was adopted at the age of 5, Mr. Haley knows what a loving family can mean for a child. He graciously served as a spokesperson for the “Open Your Hearts, Open Your Doors” campaign to support the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery and its Foundation.

 

“I love the South Carolina Heart Gallery because of everything it embodies and gives back to the state. It’s everything that came to fruition in my life: security, stability, organization, and a loving home,” Mr. Haley said in a promotional video last year.

 

“I believe that we can find a permanent home for all of our South Carolina children waiting for adoption; I don’t think that goal is far out of reach.

 

“Opening your door to a child and providing them a loving, caring, permanent home is one of the greatest gifts that you can give. I would tell any family that is looking to adopt that these kids are our future; they are part of us, they are part of South Carolina, and we can make a difference in each of their lives. It made a difference in my life.”

 

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.

 

Through the Eyes of a Child

Most of us can’t imagine life without our families. They are the people who are always there to help us celebrate our successes and our failures. They are who we turn to for a word of advice or a shoulder to cry on.

 

Because a family is more than flesh and blood. It’s having people who love you unconditionally. It’s a support system that helps each of us along life’s journeys.

 

Yet, thousands of children across South Carolina have never understood the meaning of a family. They have never felt the safety and security of a loving home; they’ve never experienced unconditional love… but they also haven’t given up on it.

 

These children are waiting, wishing for a family of their own. And, for the first time, they are speaking out about it. Through a series of videos produced by the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation, select children in foster care are telling the world about their lives, their interests, and what they are looking for in a forever home.

 

Here is what a few of them have to say:

 

“Just because things don’t go your way, that doesn’t mean you just give up on the world.”                  

–Derrick, 16 years old

 

“I’m nice, kind, and gentle…I’m not asking for much—just to have a good family.”   

–Devonte, 17 years old

 

“Someone taught me [three things] that help me every day: A. learn from your mistakes, B. if your day is going wrong, hope for a better one, and last but not least, treat others the way you want to be treated.”  –Kyle

 

“It would be a good family, if I just had the right family—that I’ve never had before.”

–Deon, 14 years old

 

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.