When KOLO 8 News Now shows you children who are up for adoption in the monthy Have A Heart reports, those children are wards of the state. Nevada is their guardian.
Once adopted, children's new parents have control of their stories, and whether their adoption status can be made public. This month, we are fortunate enough to report a teenager who we highlighed in July of 2008 is adopted, and her parents are willing to come forward in order to tell prospective foster and adoptive parents their happy ending.
We met Shawna one year ago, shortly after her 14th birthday. Shawna was a rare story, where she had been adopted once, only to have her adoptive single-mother die. Shawna re-entered the system.
Back in July of 2008 Shawna had said, "I really don't want to go back into foster care. I've been in foster care since I was born. I was hoping to find another family."
As of August 14th, 2009 - Shawna's wish for a new family became official.
"I got adopted by a wonderful family, and it's awesome."
Shawna glows as she recites her new name for the camera, "Shawna Ann Marie Jones. It's longer."
It's a full-circle story. Shawna and her estranged-sister were actually Debra and John Jones' first foster-care cases eight years ago.
Debra Jones says she was made aware of Shawna's adoption plight by a counselor. "She said her adopted mother passed away. My heart sank into my stomach and the second thought I had was I have to get her. She has to come back home with us."
Debra immediately called social services. She and her husband had a blended family, and adopted two other children last year. Shawna's story; however, called to both of them.
Shawna's dad, John, says "There are so many kids in this county, and state who need a home."
Shawna remembers the day her social worker told her the Jones family wanted Shawna to return. "She said they wanted me and I was like - 'can I just move in now?'"
Shawna and the Jones were reunited February 14th last year, her adoption was made official August 14th.
Debra says, "I just thank God everyday. He really has a plan for all of us. This was meant to be."
Shawna's message to kids in the system: don't give up. "If you want to be adopted you will get a family. No matter what age."
The Jones parents say, if you're considering growing your family, don't turn down the option of fostering or adopting.
Debra says, "Living with these children in your home… you get a chance to comfort and heal."