Iowa's Child Success Story--Maranda and Mariah - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa's Child Success Story--Maranda and Mariah



"They fit in perfectly," says Pastor Jill Mack.  "It's like they've always been part of our family. Never were there any second thoughts about it." Pastor Mack is talking about her twin daughters, Maranda and Mariah.

Jill and her husband, Randy Mack, adopted Mariah and Maranda, after seeing them on an Iowa's Child feature, which aired in October of 2002, when the twins were just 11 years old Now, they're 18 and about to head off to college.

The twin sisters had been foster care for some time when featured on the KWWL-TV Iowa's Child adoption series in 2002. Jill and Randy saw the story and decided to adopt the twins. Of that decision,  Maranda says, "We definitely wanted a new family. It was scary at first, but we got used to it.

Mariah adds, "You how they say you can't pick your family? Well, we got to. Well, they picked us"

And that decision has proven to be an adoption success story for the Mack family.

Of his daughters, Randy says, "They have been very good girls. They've been wonderful to have around. They've kept us young ("and sometimes tired",  Jill adds)

Maranda says, "It's been nice-everyone in my family was very accepting....they were all so kind."

Says Mariah, "My family kind of molds me. I try to shape my life around them. I have my friends, but I don't know where you'd be without a family. They're always there."

The Mack's had three biological sons in Christian, Joshua and Shannen. They lost middle son, Joshua, to cancer, several years ago, when Joshua was just 9. Adopting someday always seemed to be a possibility.

Jill says, "We just talked about adoption for many years. After our middle son died, we started talking about it then. When we got to the point where we were ready to do it, we knew we were ready to adopt an older child and we felt like that was what we were being called to do. Our faith had a lot of to with everything that we've done."

Back in May , M & M graduated with the West Delaware class of 2009, and in just a few days, the twin sisters will head off to college in Des Moines. They will attend DMACC, Des Moines Area Community College.

And the girls have some great advice for Iowa kids waiting for new families through adoption.

Says Mariah, "Everything turns out for the best, so don't try to fight or rebel. Just go with it, because they're not trying to yake you away from something. They are trying to give you something to live for."

And this from Maranda, "Don't be sacred of giving your love to another family."

There is a great need for foster and adoptive parents in Iowa. To learn more about adoption and foster parenting, contact Iowa KidsNet at:

Many of Iowa's 'Waiting' kids are legally free for adoption through the State of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Human Services. To find out more about Greg and other ‘Waiting Children' call 1-800-243-0756 or contact: or

Iowa KidsNet is there to help Iowa kids. Though only a little more than one year ago, the Iowa KidsNet project is already having a positive impact helping Iowa kids live in a safe environment and reach their full potential. This is a unique partnership of six-non profit Iowa agencies, headed by Four Oaks, to help Iowa children and families.

The Iowa foster care system generally serves more than 11, 700 children in any given year. Startling statistics, which emphasize the need to make sure all Iowa kids live in a safe and loving environment.

Iowa KidsNet is headquartered at the Four Oaks complex in Cedar Rapids. Some of the other agencies include Quakerdale, Lutheran Services in Iowa, Family Resources, Children's Square USA/Child Connect and Boys and Girls Home and Family Services.

In addition, Iowa KidsNet gets support from Youth and Shelter Services, Young House Family Services, Children and Families of Iowa and American Home Finding Association.

The Iowa Department of Human Services awarded Iowa KidsNet a contract to serve as an adoption and foster care recruitment tool, and to create safe, permanent connections between children and families through foster care.

Unfortunately, Iowa currently has more children in foster care than families available to provide them a safe environment while in foster care. The need for foster and adoptive parents in Iowa remains great. In fiscal year 2006, the State of Iowa, through various agencies, served 11,748 children in the Iowa foster care system, On any given day in Iowa, some five-thousand children live in Iowa foster homes. Those are truly amazing statistics.

About three-years ago, The Iowa Department of Human Services embarked on a new initiative regarding foster care and adoptions. D-H-S recently renewed a contract to Iowa KidsNet, a statewide collaboration of non-profit agencies dedicated to the safety and permanency of children and families; The three-year old network consists of almost a dozen agencies. Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids is the lead agency in this new effort to recruit and retain resource families who are interested in foster care and adoption of Iowa children. Iowa Kids Net will also work with the long-running Iowa's Child Special Needs Adoption program on KWWL-TV. 

To learn more about Iowa KidsNet and becoming a foster or adoptive parent, you can easily contact Iowa KidsNet on its toll-free number 1-800-243-0756. If this number sounds familiar, it should. It's the same toll- free phone number which has been used by Kidsake over the past few years. Iowa KidsNet replaced Kidsake, and has been building on the successful efforts of Kidsake under the current new recruitment and retention effort.

Kelli Malone is the Project Manager for IowaKidsNet. Contact Kelli on the internet at:

This website will also show you many of Iowa's ‘Waiting' Children. These are children in the Iowa foster care system currently available for legal adoption,

Online Reporter:  Ron Steele

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