US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Rapid City Family’s Adoption Story an Inspiration to Us All

Rapid City Family’s Adoption Story an Inspiration to Us All
By U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

Raising a family has been the greatest privilege of my life. Jean and I have been blessed with four children and ten grandchildren who all live near our home in Fort Pierre. Providing a loving home where kids can grow up, learn values and feel safe is one of the most important jobs we as parents have to prepare them for their futures.

Every child deserves the love and support that a family provides. As any parent knows, raising kids is both the most rewarding and toughest job in the world. This includes parents who choose to adopt and raise children in need of a loving home. I have long been a proponent of adoption. Through my work as a senator, I have the opportunity to nominate a South Dakota family or organization for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s “Angels in Adoption” award each year. I was pleased to nominate Sean and Caresa O’Connor of Rapid City to be this year’s Angels in Adoption.

Caresa and Sean first decided to explore adoption after their daughter Libby, then a high school student, told her mom that there was another baby out there for them that they needed to go find. She was so adamant, that Caresa called her husband to tell him about it and after praying together, they decided to call an adoption attorney. The attorney told them the process could take one to five years, but just three weeks later, they were on their way to meet their new daughter Winnie, now age 4. They then decided they wanted Winnie to have a sibling closer in age to her, so they went through the adoption process again and adopted their son RJ, now age 2.

Caresa has said that adoption brings people together—people that you never knew had a history with adoption will reach out to share advice or insight about their experience with adoption. Having a support system of people who know how the process works and can serve as a sounding board can be helpful. The O’Connors faced some hardship during their second adoption, which was disrupted twice. However, it all worked out for the best as Caresa says God matches you with your baby—the right baby for you and your family. We’re so pleased the adoption process worked out the way it did for the O’Connor family.

The Angels in Adoption program highlights the need for loving families to open their homes and their hearts to children in need of a permanent, stable home. Angels in Adoption nominees like Sean and Caresa are honored for the work they do to share the positive impact adoption can make in the lives of children and families.

I’m pleased to nominate Sean and Caresa as this year’s Angels in Adoption. Their inspiring adoption story shows us all that the foundation of any strong family is love, and that God works to bring families together. The impact adoption can have on families, children and societies is truly life-changing. I thank all the families who open their doors to kids in need.

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