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Meet the Spangler Family from Colorado

Children are beautiful and perfect just the way they are.


As a single mom, Jessica Spangler had spent years devoted to her biological son, but she had always wanted to adopt. When her son was on the cusp of adulthood, Jessica began providing foster care.


Kennedy arrived as a newborn and 18 months later, Jessica became her daughter’s “forever family” when the adoption was finalized. When Kennedy was 5, a new baby was placed with the Spanglers. Summer, now 2, was formally adopted after 20 months in the home.


The girls have grown to be happy and active children. Kennedy, now 7, likes “to be in motion” riding horses, swimming, doing gymnastics, participating in Girl Scouts, and playing with her little sister. She loves caring for dogs and drawing pictures for family and friends.


A sweet toddler, Summer keeps busy “reading” books and playing with construction vehicles. She is passionate about learning letters and new words, and she shares her newfound knowledge with others. “Her ear-to-ear smile is infectious,” says Mom.


As a foster care provider, Jessica was willing to adopt children with disabilities and children of a different ethnicity. She writes, “I accept children as they come. They are beautiful to me and perfect just the way they are.”


Kennedy and Summer were each born with complications due to prenatal substance abuse. When asked about post adoption services they have accessed, Jessica credits Early Intervention Services for assisting when Kennedy was an infant. Kennedy currently receives one-on-one educational support, and both girls receive speech therapy and gastrointestinal treatment. One of the Spangler girls needs Durable Medical Equipment and regular Developmental Evaluations, but the shortage of Medicaid providers and long wait periods have been challenging. As a round-the-clock caregiver, Jessica is eligible for respite services, but she faced similar challenges with Medicaid. She currently receives a grant from Easter Seals to take a well-deserved break two times a year.

If Jessica could ask policymakers for anything, it would be to ensure that children in foster care receive intensive in-home therapies, day treatment, and other high level mental health services expeditiously, “especially if biological parents’ rights have been terminated and the foster home is a potential adoptive placement.” She explains that under the current policy, foster parents have to wait for permission to get mental health care, which could take weeks, and then children wait many more weeks for appointments. “The long waits are tough on families. Timely and efficient therapy would help to keep children in permanent placements and keep siblings together.”

Jessica thanks Congress for The Federal Adoption Tax Credit which was very helpful in getting the Spanglers “off to a great start.” Noting that the Tax Credit ceased being refundable in 2016, Jessica respectfully requests that it be made refundable once again. “It’s the right thing to do for all the children waiting for families. It will increase the number of families able to adopt.”