One loving Richmond family bucks Virginia’s adoption trends

Posted at 9:49 PM, Dec 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-20 15:08:29-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Sadly, 1,400 children in Virginia will remain in foster care at Christmastime. But the song remains the same at the Hanrahan house in Richmond's Fan district-- a whole lot of love.

"They are all great kids,” says Jen Hanrahan. “I can't imagine a child not having any place to call home."

Tom and Jen Hanrahan are raising nine children. Four biological and five adopted. Their children range in age from two to 19.

"Each one was a surprise. Adopt two. I'd get pregnant. Adopt two. I'd get pregnant,” says Jen.
The Hanrahans say adopting has enriched their lives beyond measure.

"I just remember being so incredibly excited that I was going to be a Mom one way or another,” says Jen.

"As a father, it is all about logistics. Once the house was big enough and the van big enough why not fill it,” says Tom. “It is amazingly orderly."

"More children age out of foster care in Virginia than any other state in Virginia," said Nadine Marsh-Carter. The President of Children's Home Society, adds that children who never find their forever home face tall odds with 25 percent having run-ins with police and 20 percent ending up homeless after the age of 18.

"The rewards of adopting benefit the child and the family,” says Marsh-Carter. "These kids are in foster care through no fault of their own. What they want is a mom or dad and family structure."

Mark Kinnard, Jr. worked his way through foster care and aged out last year.

"Lot of difficulties. I was pretty much on my own,” says Kinnard. “Having a family in life is really important you know?"

While looking for stability in his life, the nineteen-year-old promises to stand up for those who don’t have a home for the holiday.

"Somebody has to be a voice. Somebody has to play that role, so I'll be around forever,” says Kinnard.

Back at the Hanrahan's loving and sometimes chaotic home, Mom and Dad are making a difference one child at a time.

Jen and Tom say they couldn't imagine life any differently.

"It has worked pretty well,” says Jen. "There is a lot of love. A lot of noise. But a lot of love."

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