BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)– The pictures lining the Newman Family fridge mark more than just memories. They are signs of relief.
“I just think I’m meant to be here,” said Ellie Newman.
Ellie, Miranda and Sadie are biological sisters. Ellie is the oldest at 11-years-old.
“Ellie is my genius,” said Lauren Newman, Ellie’s adoptive mother. “Straight A’s in school, loves soccer.”
Next is Miranda, the gymnast of the family.
“She wants to be in the Olympics,” said Newman. “Hopefully that will happen.”
Sadie is the youngest at 2-years-old.
“Sadie is my wild child,” said Newman.
Their pictures are all over, and their names are on bedroom walls. But two years ago, was a very different picture.
“It’s just a horrible experience for kids like me,” said Ellie.
Their birth parents were addicted to drugs.
“Got beated, I really didn’t like it,” said Miranda. “It made me really upset.”
With meth and opioids on the rise, Bedford County Department of Social Services hears stories like this often.
“Not only are they going without food or nice clothes, we see a lot of domestic violence.”
In the fall of 2017, Bedford County DSS received more children into foster care than they usually do in a year. The extra stress on the system is also changing the way they have to respond.
Adoption is usually a last resort in the foster care system, however this year adoptions have more than quadrupled.
“To say that we’ve only had a handful of kids return home this year is a very sad thing to say,” said McElroy.
Ellie and Miranda’s journey was not easy. They spent 689 days in foster care before they were officially adopted into the Newman family.
The road came with bumps. The girls went through counseling and were able to work through past struggles.
“It was hard and bad because I had to do everything for my siblings,” said Ellie.
Now, Ellie gets to be a kid.
Miranda didn’t want to be adopted at first. Today she’s thankful for a future.
“I’ve always had a dream to do actual gymnastics and be in it and I never the opportunity to,” said Miranda.
On their adoption day, each girl was handed an adoption book. It chronicles their lives: the good, bad and everything in between to help make sense of it all.
“When they can finally get to the point where they can accept their parents love them deeply, they just couldn’t do any better. But there’s this other family who can step in and love them for the future,” said McElroy. “It’s wonderful.”
They have, against all odds, gotten to that point together. In a new family with a fresh start.
“I think the best thing we can do is give them the life they deserve,” said Newman.
Ellie and Miranda said they wanted to share their stories to help kids who might be going through the same thing. They give all credit to a strong faith background established by their adoptive parents.
In the beginning of the month McElroy thought the problem was subsiding. Days later, two more children were brought into care because of opiate abuse.