The opioid epidemic has left many children in similar situations.
The rise in opioid use in America has reached epidemic proportions. As more and more adults fall to addiction, this has left an alarming amount of children in the care of the state. One family in particular, however, is going above and beyond the call to help their neighbors. Cyndi and Jesse Swafford have taken in 13 children whose parents are struggling with opioid abuse.
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CNN reports that when they began their work as a foster family, the Swaffords were told that they might wait years before fostering an infant, but today there are not enough foster homes to care for all the babies in need.
“I’m confident that if we opened another bed in our home, it would be filled with another baby with an opiate issue,” Cyndi says, “It’s hard to hold a baby as they are withdrawing from heroin.”
The Swaffords care for children whose parents are too troubled to care for them, as well as babies who were subjected to drugs through their mother’s blood streams, while still in the womb. These babies come into the world addicted and battling withdrawal, which can last four to six months.
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It is this special care that frightens away perspective foster families. According to Jewell Good, director of Children and Family Services in Montgomery County, the rate of families fostering children has dropped 25 percent in the last year. More than that, the children who are lucky enough to land a spot with a loving foster family tend to hold those spots longer while their parents take months or years to get clean. This has lead to fewer foster spaces and more children in need.
The Swaffords adopted a pair of brothers after the two had been with them for a year and a half. The video shows the older boy, Kalib, reuniting with his father, who has been clean for 18 months, after 10 years of estrangement. While his father is still in no state to care for his son, Kalib’s meeting him again meant the world to him and he considered it “the best day of [his] life.”
It is moments like these that the Swaffords work so hard for.