Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Congratulations unsung heroes: Rick and Janet Russum

Seattle’s Child recognizes the wonderful, everyday heroes nominated for the Washington Unsung Hero Awards this month.


February is Parent Recognition Month. Strengthening Families Washington, of the Department of Early Learning for Washington State, believes there is no better way to recognize a parent, grandparent, foster or adoptive parent than by acknowledging the numerous and impressive things they do to strengthen their family and those around them in their community.

Seattle’s Child is proud to sponsor the Washington Unsung Hero Awards, recognizing our everyday heroes and honoring the important role caregivers play in children’s lives. There are 28 nominees for the 28 days of February, and Seattle’s Child will highlight each and every one.


Congratulations to the Unsung Heroes for February 27

Rick and Janet Russum – Kennewick

Rick and Janet Russum are amazing foster parents providing a structured, consistent and nurturing home for the children in their care. They exhibited resilience through the licensing process; it was a challenging process with extra evaluations required. Soon after they were licensed the parents were asked to take newborn twins, a boy and a girl. The baby girl has severe medical needs and developmental delays. Mrs. Russum is a registered nurse so it was a good fit. The family stuck with the baby through numerous hospitalizations including at Seattle Children's Hospital. Mrs. Russum slept next to the baby in the hospital. The biological family did not have the capability to care for the girl's serious medical needs but were very capable of raising their son, so after more than a year he was returned home. The foster parents, understanding the twin's bond, invited the biological parents to visit the foster home. It has worked out to be a beautiful arrangement where the biological family visits every other Sunday and has dinner with the foster family. The sibling bond has been maintained and the biological parents are able to love their daughter.

The foster parents accepted placement of another sibling set; this time young teenagers with issues that include running away, poor school performance, sexual issues and lack of judgment. Within months of coming to live with the Russums the children were earning all As and Bs at school. The young man became very successful in baseball and the girl made new healthy friendships. The foster family hopes to adopt three of the children in their care. The foster family is supported by Catholic Family & Child Services. They are always open to suggestions and are not afraid to request assistance. They attend much training to learn how to best parent the hurting children in their care.

Nominator: Susan Kellie

Singing the Praises of Our Unsung Heroes

Read about all of the wonderful, everyday heroes who have won Washington Unsung Hero Awards: