Isaiah 117 House director receives Angels in Adoption award

Ronda Paulson, director of the Isaiah 117 House, was recently named a 2019 Angels in Adoption honoree by the federal legislature.

Paulson said the award is given to people for their work in the foster care system.

“It was very surreal,” she said. “I was surrounded by so many people like me.”

Paulson said her nomination came from Congressman Phil Roe, who invited her and a man from Memphis to come to D.C. to receive the award. She also got to tour the White House while she was there.

“I got to tell my story and raise awareness,” she said. “It really was an honor. I do not take it lightly.”

While the recognition did not come with grant money or another form of material support, she said the opportunity to speak in D.C. highlighted one of the Isaiah 117 House’s main points of focus.

“Our whole focus was to create awareness,” Paulson said. “This reminds me we are doing just that.”

She said the opportunity helped make sure legislators understand how great the need is in the country.

“The need is great across every county in the state,” she said. “Wherever there is a need, we will go.”

Since starting up in Carter County a few years ago, the Isaiah 117 House has expanded into multiple counties across the state.

One of these points of awareness Paulson said she wants to focus on are the laws themselves surrounding foster care.

“I really hope we see legislation change,” she said. “The laws date back to 1997.”

She said reforming the process of foster care and removing children from dangerous homes can only benefit the children who have to go through the process.

“If we want strong adults, we need to look at children,” Paulson said.

She said she did not want the recognition to focus on her and her own accomplishments as director. Rather, she wants the spotlight to be on the Isaiah 117 House as a whole and the work it does across the state of Tennessee.

“We have asked the community to step up,” Paulson said.

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