CARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Justice Center is honoring a Caryville couple as “Parents of the Year.”
Tim and Amanda Smith have taken in foster care children while raising several of their own over the years.
“We have three biological kids and then our oldest daughter that we adopted when she was nine,” said Amanda.
Along with their own four children, they’ve also foster several medically fragile children.
“It seems scary but it’s not,” said Amanda. “Once you get that child and connect with them, it’s not as scary as you would think.”
Medically fragile foster children are usually harder to place in a foster home.
Tim said, “I’d worked at children’s hospital and then Amanda started working there too and working upstairs where the kids would stay and they have a lot of medically fragile ones that were there… basically they would give the doctors writing order to keep them there because they didn’t have nobody to take them. So they were just basically stuck there.”
Amanda added, “After a few weeks of seeing kids that just couldn’t find placements because of their needs it got to the point where I was like, okay, we can do something.”
That’s how they found Miracle, who they have since adopted.
“She’s a mess,” Amanda laughed. “She is a typical two-year-old. She’s got attitude, she’s into everything she can get into. She’s just, Miracle.”
Miracle was born with Potter Syndrome, a rare birth defect that has caused her to need a kidney transplant and special medical attention.
Part of the adoption agreement was that Miracle could keep her TennCare as secondary insurance, but TennCare switched her MCO without consulting with the family. This resulted in TennCare telling the family that Miracle’s nursing hours would be reduced while also refusing to pay for her blood pressure medication that is about $800/month. The Smiths shared that “it was a disaster.”
That’s when they called the Tennessee Justice Center.
“When I called Tennessee Justice Center it’s just like everything went into place,” Amanda explained. “They were able to take care of it and to just be able to take that weight off my shoulders.”
Tennessee Justice Center has helped the Smiths get the medication and medical treatments needed for Miracle so they can continue to live their busy lives without having to worry about medical costs.
They now encourage others to foster.
“Breath,” Amanda said as advice to those thinking about fostering. “Bring them home, it does calm down and they’ll get more of a blessing than they know.”
Miracle is on the Kidney Transplant list. You can learn more about becoming a donor here.