Mrs. Tennessee International 2017, Shana Smith, aims to spread news of the need for foster families far and wide. Her grandmother was adopted from a newspaper ad in Wisconsin. Her mom and dad were foster parents. She was raised to see children in the foster care system and children who are adopted as “chosen.” That stuck with her. When she turned 25, she took in her first foster child. A year later she married a long-time friend and went on to adopt that child. The couple fostered and adopted another child and continues to provide a home for various children in the system.

Mrs. Smith says she gets calls almost weekly of more children needing homes. She said the threat of them sleeping on office floors otherwise is all too real. She is excited to be able to use her title to draw attention to the shortage of resources for these children. There are 23,000 kids aging out of foster care each year with no family. She fears the future of the country if the kids continue to grow up with no love or stability. In most case all the children want is someone to show up to a football game or a dance recital. Mrs. Smith emphasized that being a foster parent isn’t the only way you can help. You can provide respite care for children while their foster parents are at work. You can donate items your family no longer needs. You can also share knowledge about how to care for children with special needs. Foster parents are just doing the best they can with what they are given, and they need your support.

Click here to watch her interview.