KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For more than 30 years, a Remarkable Woman has opened her home to more than 400 foster children, all while she has adopted 23 children in addition to raising her five biological children. She has a lot of love to give.
Lori Ross has worked tirelessly to be a voice for the most vulnerable children in our community.
“I have people all the time say, ‘Your mom is a saint,'” said Jessica Ross, Lori’s second-oldest biological child.
“We have six kids still at home. My youngest is a third grader. My oldest is in her 40s,” Lori said. She’s a finalist for the FOX4 Remarkable Women contest.
Lori began her career working with the Missouri Children’s Division and the Kansas Department for Children and Families more than 30 years ago.
“She will fight for those people who don’t have a voice. I am lucky that I have had her fighting for me all these years,” Jessica said.
Since 1985, Lori and her husband Randy have been foster and adoptive parents, while also raising her five biological children. She has often fostered siblings because she didn’t want to see them separated.
“I am very proud of my kids. They’re pretty amazing people,” Lori said.
There’s another thing that makes her pretty amazing: Her non-profit serving the Kansas City metro and beyond.
In 1998, after attending a foster parents meeting, she quickly made the decision that she wanted to be part of creating solutions for families like her own. That is how her non-profit, Foster Adopt Connect, was born.
A non-profit plan and grant written at her kitchen table has grown tremendously. Foster Adopt Connect now has six locations with more than 200 employees dedicated to helping foster and adoptive children and families.
“I believe my purpose in life is to make a difference for children who are vulnerable, and so I think about that at night when I go to sleep,” Lori explained.
Whether it’s monthly food drives, providing clothing and financial assistance to help foster families stretch their dollar, her goal is to reach every vulnerable child.
“We all value and recognize that our children are the most important thing they’re our future; they’re worth fighting for,” Lori said.
And she’s trying to fight for as many as she can.
“As long as there are ways for children to fall through the safety net of the foster care system, I’m going to keep working to try to fill those gaps,” she said.
Lori’s reputation within the child welfare community is an invaluable asset. Her advocacy work for abused and neglected children has not only saved lives in our community but nationally as well.
She has served on boards and task forces related to foster care and adoption, which includes the Missouri Task Force on Children’s Justice and the Voice for Adoption based in Washington, D.C.
“There are no barriers that you can’t overcome for the best interest of a child,” Lori said.
Her passion and dedication to starts with her first belief that every child is vitally important to our future. Secondly, children are created in, nurtured in, raised in, and develop in families. Families are the core component necessary for every child to thrive. Thirdly, there is a solution to almost every problem, and ‘no’ is merely the beginning of the conversation.
Finally, she believes that she is called to be a voice for our most vulnerable children, and she is not afraid to use her voice on their behalf.
Lori’s non-profit utilizes foster and adoptive parents to serve foster and adopted children and their families. She understands the unique needs of those impacted by child welfare, and she works tirelessly to make sure every child has a bright future in the home of a loving, safe, family.
Her family is extremely proud of her and her amazing accomplishments.
“As I have gotten older, I have gotten to reconnect with some of the foster siblings through social media. They still to this day remember that time with my parents, with us. Seeing that big of impact that my mom and my dad made on these people who are now adults just makes my heart happy,” Jessica said.
As long as God allows her, Lori said she’ll keep fighting for all children.
“For me, it feels like a God-given calling.”