by Angelina Denver
I remember the first time I heard the music from Annie. I was mesmerized! I loved the music and the story. The music was so fun. I could be heard belting out the words to “It’s a Hard Knock Life’ and ‘Tomorrow’ on my Saturday cleaning days with my little sister. Annie’s story of wanting to find a family to which she could belong resonated with me. I grew up hoping to have children of my own one day. I grew up enjoying kids, babysitting and helping in leadership, but I had no idea how many children would end up being part of my story.
Throughout Annie’s story she is trying to find what she really needs. When Annie finally finds her forever family she sings these words in, ‘I Don’t Need Anything but You’:
Together at last!
We’re tying a knot,
They never can sever!
Having a family that is committed is what every child needs.
I was drawn to these lines again as an adult when my husband and I were licensed foster parents for more than 20 years. We helped many children reunite with their biological parents, unite with relatives, or move on to adoptive homes. We also became the adoptive home for 5 children. Every child deserves to be able to sing these lines with confidence. To know that they can count on someone forever.
Annie knows that the best place for her, is in a home, just like many of the more than 10,000 children in foster care in Washington today. As the story unfolds though, Annie discovers that her path is going to be different than she ever imagined. Leaving behind the dreams of her biological family and clinging to her new adoptive family, she and her new family fully commit to one another.
Today, I work with Fostering Together where I am able to support those seeking to become foster parents in Western Washington for a child needing care. Some may hope to adopt from the more than 2,000 children waiting for permanent families in our state.
Annie was happy at the end of the story because she finally had her forever family. She sings:
I don’t need sunshine now,
To turn my skies to blue—
I don’t need anything but you!
The children that I have been able to work with over the years typically want one thing – a family. Maybe that family is you. I have been able to be that family for a few amazing kids and we feel like we can dance and sing along with Annie. I hope you choose to be the family that a child needs, temporarily or long-term. The hard-knock life of foster care isn’t any kind of easy-street for the kids, but you may be just the right person to bring a little blue-sky into the life of a foster-child. I hope you’ll consider it.
The 5th Avenue Theatre is a proud partner with Fostering Together, dedicated to finding and supporting foster families in Western Washington. On November 23, we invited foster families to attend our final dress rehearsal of Annie with over 250 children and parents in attendance. We are honored to partner with Fostering Together in bringing more visibility to the increasing need for foster parents in our region.
For tickets to see Annie, playing through December 30, please visit www.5thavenue.org. Fostering Together has a presence in the lobby for most performances and can answer questions. The 5th is also accepting donations of new warm clothing for Tree House serving King County foster children in the lobby.