In celebration of ATN’s 2016 Angels in Adoption award, we’re profiling ATN members who have helped ATN win the award — and who have themselves been Angels to families and children.
by: Toni Hoy
While I parented two children of trauma, it never crossed my mind that my passion for helping them heal would lead me to become a best-selling author, a valued consultant, or an award-winning advocate, including being a recipient of Angels in Adoption. I got my first glimpse of notoriety when I presented at a small conference on advocacy. As I walked down the hotel corridor, I heard whispers. “Look! That’s Toni Hoy!” I craned my neck to see who they were talking about before I stopped in my tracks and humbly realized they were talking about me.
One of those people was Cindy McMurry, a Kentucky mother who reached out to me asking for information on how to get mental health services for her daughter while maintaining her permanency. Despite a rollercoaster of system battles and multiple placements, Cindy persevered and got help for her daughter.
Another parent, MaryBeth Storrow, bought every last copy of my book, “Second Time Foster Child” to share with her legislators to make a difference in the state of Iowa. Both of those women have gone on to support other parents raising children of trauma. In Illinois, eight parents and two young adult men accompanied me to testify before a House committee to prevent involuntary relinquishment in exchange for treatment.
In Utah, Jenny Dew reached out to me and helped pass a similar law.
Susan Woodruff asked me for help in passing Jacob’s Law in Arizona. I have helped hundreds of parents across the nation to get services for their children while preserving their permanency and supported those who relinquished a child back to the state, either voluntarily or involuntarily. I have learned that hope sparks confidence and that one person can make a difference. I am proud to pay it forward as ATN’s Advocacy Director.