A Forever Family for Wilson and Catharine

My wife Jacquie and I are the proud parents of seven children – six sons and a daughter.

Our home is full of love and laughter, and I consider it my biggest fortune in life to be a father and watch my children grow into the people they were meant to be.

When I reflect on these blessings, I do so with the somber reminder that not everyone is lucky enough to have children. There are so many couples across this nation struggling to complete their family, and so many children hoping to become part of one.

It’s perhaps a poetic coincidence that the holiday most associated with family and togetherness, Thanksgiving, falls in the same month as National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day.

As we near the holidays, I’ve had a particularly poignant quote from Mother Teresa, now St. Teresa of Calcutta, on my heart:

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

There are more than 100,000 children in the United States eligible for adoption, and millions more around the world waiting for a mother’s embrace, and the stability that comes with a family and home to call your own.

We are not all called to adopt, but we are all called to do something for these “forgotten youth.”

For me, that means using my role as a representative – as the voice of the Minnesotans who sent me to D.C. – to tear down red tape that threatens to keep families apart.

Joy and Matthew Molitor, my district’s 2016 Angels in Adoption, spent more than three years working to adopt their children, Wilson and Catharine. In that time, they visited Haiti 15 times patiently waiting for the day their family would be complete. But in October 2015, they received the devastating news that their paperwork was no longer valid and the Haitian government was no longer allowing simple adoptions.

This didn’t deter the Molitors from moving forward. Even though the recent elections in Haiti caused riots and chaos, Joy would walk from one government agency to the next for four months, refusing to take “no” for an answer. Finally, on February 10 of this year, she successfully obtained the visas for Wilson and Catharine and they were all able to fly home to Minnesota together.

All children need to know that at least one person will step up and advocate for them, and Matthew and Joy perfectly represent the love that parents have for their children.

I’m thankful that our office was able to help them find a happy ending, but more needs to be done. I will continue to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and support legislation that makes the adoption process easier to navigate and improves the lives of foster youth and parents.

Every child deserves their chance at a forever family, because every human life has potential.

That is the crux of the House Republicans’ Better Way agenda – that no matter your background or walk of life, you should be empowered to pursue your own unique version of the American Dream. By rethinking our approaches to policy, we are working to make Americans more confident in their lives and in their futures.

Because if the American Dream isn’t true for everyone – including foster youth and orphans – then it isn’t true for anybody.