Mrs. Tennessee working to raise awareness about foster care - WSMV News 4

Mrs. Tennessee International working to raise awareness about foster care, adoption

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Shana Smith is Mrs. Tennessee International 2017. (WSMV) Shana Smith is Mrs. Tennessee International 2017. (WSMV)

News 4's Holly Thompson recently sat down with Mrs. Tennessee International 2017 Shana Smith to talk adoption and foster care, which is a cause dear to the Franklin mom's heart.

Smith is a foster mother of 12 years, having adopted her own two children through foster care.

Smith says she and her husband, Army SFC Grant Smith, have dedicated their lives to the service of others.

Through her platform, Smith is sharing her message of love and compassion for foster children and stresses the tremendous need for foster and adoptive families in Tennessee.

"The number of children in foster care is increasing every year, but the number of homes is decreasing," Smith said. "I get calls almost weekly from our agency saying, we have a child, and if you can't take this child, there's a potential, they're sleeping on a floor in an office somewhere because there are no homes. We need foster homes here and people that are willing to take older children in care."

Smith says the average age of a child in foster care is 9 up to the age of 17.

"We have 23,000 a year that are aging out of the foster care system without a family," Smith said. "These are kids who have not had a parent to go to a football game or a parent that will come and pick them up from college or even show them how to go to college. These are the future of our country and we need the homes that will provide that stability and that love to watch these kids grow to amazing adults."

Smith grew up in a home where her own mom and dad were foster parents and her grandmother was adopted.

"My grandmother was adopted out of a newspaper article in Wisconsin. And what she told me my whole life was that children that are adopted are chosen. They're not leftovers, they're not unwanted, they're chosen.  So my children are chosen. Every child that's adopted is chosen, and there's something so beautiful in that because so often, children in care feel very unloved, very unwanted and to know that they're chosen. I tell my kids that every day," she said.

Smith says she even jokes with her two children that her parents got stuck with her through birth, but she got to choose them.

"I love that she raised us with that because it's something that we can continue to teach our children, every child that comes into our home, they're chosen by God, they're chosen by their family, they're chosen special people," Smith said.

Smith will soon be heading to Charleston, WV, for the Mrs. International Pageant on Aug. 6.

Click here for more information on Shana Smith and her platform to spread awareness about adoption and foster care.

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