TALENT, Ore. – The Census Bureau reports roughly a third of all children nationwide live without their biological fathers. Kaydie Drake is one of those children.
“Both parents had mental health issues,” said Kaydie’s adoptive mother Theresa. “The bio father, they could never get him to acknowledge his mental health issues to the point of being able to get him any sort of help at all.”
Theresa and her husband Mark are Kaydie’s grandparents by blood, but her adoptive parents by choice. They say they made the hard decision to raise her when her biological parents proved unresponsive to parental education efforts from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Oregon DHS data shows as of 2011, the amount of foster children in Jackson County is going down, but cases of abuse and neglect are going up. Absence of parents or role models has been linked to behavior, mental stability, and drug use.
“Kaydie’s one of the lucky ones,” said Theresa. “There’s not always that option out there. There’s not always people that can step forward.”
Mark and Theresa say there will always be a need for more foster parents. Biologically related or not, they say it makes a difference.
“I believe that anyone who steps forward to be a positive role model in a child’s life is stepping forward out of love,” said Theresa.
As for Kaydie, her parents don’t hide any of their story from her. She calls them Mom and Dad anyway. She says she even has her Father’s Day gift ready to go.
“Pictures,” said Kaydie. “On the back and the front, and the name, for Happy Father’s Day”