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SAMPSON COUNTY, North Carolina – Another tragedy is caused by COVID-19 pandemic – children have been orphaned after losing a parent or guardian to COVID-19.

What would you like to know

  • An estimated 142,637 children under the age of 18 have lost a parent or secondary guardian as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Institutes of Health
  • More than 11,500 children are currently in foster care in North Carolina as of September 2021, according to Management Assistance for Child Welfare, Work First and Food and Nutrition Services.
  • The Pope’s Family adopted their grandnieces in July 2020

A child loses a parent or guardian for four deaths from COVID, according to the National Institutes of Health.

More than 140,000 children under the age of 18 lost a primary or secondary guardian from April 2020 to June 2021.

These staggering numbers sound the alarm bells about the importance of foster and adoptive parents. But for some children, this need has always been there.

Kathy and Arnold Pope adopted their two grandnieces in July 2020.

The parents of two grown sons, grandparents and great-grandparents, never thought of raising two young children in retirement. But when their great-nieces were in need, they said there was absolutely no other option.

“I never dreamed in a million years that we would have young children who had to depend on us, it was different but it wasn’t that hard,” said Kathy Pope.

Kailyn Pope, 14, and Aubrey Pope, 8, moved in with their great aunt and uncle in 2018. At that time, the sisters were in foster care. According to Kathy Pope, the girl’s father has recently passed away and their mother is suffering from drug addiction.

“When we found out they were homeless, we would send them food, help them stay in a hotel and everything. and when they went into foster care, we started taking foster care courses so that we could get foster care with them, ”said Kathy Pope.

Since welcoming the girls, Kathy Pope says their whole family has played an important role in their education.

“They all live within walking distance. We all work together and help each other,” said Kathy Pope.

The Pope said the adoption process through the County Durham Department of Social Services has been a positive experience.

“It was a lot simpler. We had so much support and help. They handled it all,” said Kathy Pope. “There are a lot of grants, you always get support from them, talk to them, if you have any needs, they are always there, they have support groups for the kids, for the parents if you need them. . ”

Kathy Pope says foster classes provide guidance and teach prospective adoptive parents how to make children in the foster care system feel pampered and cared for.

“If someone feels in their heart that they want to take care of children, make the placement, put them in your house, because every child deserves to be loved, deserves to be protected and deserves to feel safe, ”said Kathy Pope.

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