South Dakota family celebrates Adoption Month
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Jessie and Katie Harris of Winner, South Dakota, have seven children, including three boys who have been adopted through foster care.
6-year-old Telon and 5-year-old Tobias were adopted in 2020. Their biological brother, Israel, who will be 3 in March, legally became part of the family just this month, according to the South Dakota Department of Social Services.
“You just make it work,” Katie Harris said. “Things are busy, but these boys needed a home. They needed someone to love them and care for them.”
The Harris family will join Gov. Kristi Noem and light the Christmas trees at the Grand Lighting Ceremony on Tuesday at Christmas at the Capitol.
Gov. Noem proclaimed November as Adoption Month in South Dakota.
The Department of Social Services reports that in 2023, 242 South Dakota children were placed with an adoptive family through DSS. There are currently over 100 children and teens in foster care in South Dakota in need of forever homes.
“Southy Dakota is a leader to our nation in how we prioritize families and help children who are the most vulnerable,” she said. “Every child deserves love, and every child deserves a home. The Harris family understands that, and they are truly making a difference in the lives of so many. I hope their story inspires others to help our foster children and families as well.”
“It was really important to us to keep (the brothers) together,” Katie Harris said. “Their mom reached out when she was pregnant. We had a household of small children and it’s nothing we planned on, but it was important we make it work. He was family already.”
DSS stated that Katie Harris is Native American herself and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “The Harris story also exemplifies how two DSS priorities are being upheld: keeping siblings together and placing Native American children with Native American families.”
“Those are their connections,” said Nancy Tichy, DSS family services specialist who has worked with the Harris family and many others in her 35 years with the department. “Children need to feel connected to their family. It provides a feeling of safety for those kids. With Katie and Jessie, these boys are going to learn about aspects of their Native American culture.”
“Even if you just help one kid, you’ve made a huge difference,” Katie Harris said. “Adoption doesn’t always happen, and it can be hard to say goodbye. But if it’s hard on you, you did it right.”
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