In declaring the opioids crisis a national public health emergency Thursday, President Donald Trump called attention to a Dayton-area couple and foster parents, Jesse and Cyndi Swafford.
Jesse and Cynthia (Cyndi) Swafford have cared for 13 foster children in the past decade, all who have had families affected in some way by the opioids crisis or other issues.
Trump referred to them and those like them as “guardian angels.”
“Jesse and Cyndi Swafford of Dayton, Ohio have provided a loving, stable home to children affected by the opioid crisis,” the president said.
Reached Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Swafford said she and her family were simply trying to process a whirlwind couple of days.
“I don’t know yet,” she said when asked what the invitation from the White House meant to her and her family. “It has been a whirlwind -- overwhelming, to say the least.”
“I am calling on every American to join the ranks of guardian angels like Chief Goonan and the Swaffords, who help lift up the people of our great nation,” Trump said in his address Thursday.
Mrs. Swafford said she felt the president’s attention represented progress that the issue needs.
The family has adopted two foster children and is in the process of adopting a third. They also have a biological child.
“I’m incredibly honored and thankful,” she said. “We give all glory to God for all of this. We can’t wait to see what comes next.”
The couple were married in 2005, according to Sen. Rob Portman’s office. They first became licensed as foster parents in 2007. Kalib and Brandon joined their home in May 2008 as foster children due to parental drug addiction and neglect.
The Swaffords adopted Kalib and Brandon in October 2009 then welcomed their only biological child, Cole, in March 2010. Cyndi resigned from a position as an emergency dispatcher to invest full time in therapy and ongoing care of the boys, according to Portman’s office.
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Currently, the family has two long-term foster placements, the senator’s office said.
“It blows my mind,” CNN quoted Cyndi as saying. “There are babies in the hospital waiting because of this heroin epidemic for a family that will be able to take care of them.”
Swafford is employed at Hofacker Precision Machine where he is the office manager and quality systems administrator.