When Lawrence High School class of 2004 graduate, Nicole Russell’s mother, Angie John, adopted a four-year-old girl named Miracle who had lived in an unsafe place, the decision not only changed the family structure but also propelled them to help foster kids.
Russell, 27, said it was a big adjustment when her mother took in Miracle, who had been abused and had been through multiple homes, four years ago. “It would be a challenge for anyone,” she said. “There were a lot of concerns but my mom is a strong person and it was something she had always wanted to do.”
Miracle initially owned few clothing items, didn’t have any pajamas or stuffed animals and had nightmares almost every night of the week following the adoption. “We started introducing pajamas, stuffed animals and began reading to her before bed,” Russell said. “It made a big difference and she often has weeks without any nightmares now. If she does, she’ll grab her teddy bear and go back to sleep.”
Seeing how comfortable pajamas and stuffed animals had impacted Miracle, Russell and her mother were inspired to start Precious Dreams Foundation, which provides those items to children in foster care. “I was shocked to see the overwhelming needs and no one else is doing this,” Russell said.
John helps Russell carry out the organization’s mission from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and was excited when her daughter took their vision and turned it into reality.
“I felt very proud of my daughter to know that we both shared a passion for wanting to do something to impact a child’s life that found themselves in a transition beyond their control,” she said. “When a child receives a Precious Dreams comforting bag, they open it and you see them smile; their face just lights up.”
Since January, the foundation has distributed nearly 70 comfort bags and gained sponsorship from Nickelodeon, Disney and Kids Town, a clothing store.