Samantha Reinecke, native of Chanute, Kansas, attended Pittsburg State University and graduated not once, but three times, won the Mrs. Midwest title, and is now to compete in the Mrs. United States competition.
“I just loved my experience there so much and I felt like I got an amazing education, so when I decided to pursue my masters in special education Pitt was my first choice,” Reinecke said. “And then I was actually accepted into the Ed.S School psych program and switched gears and decided to get my Ed.S in leadership with special emphasis in special education because I had such an amazing experience in that Masters of Ed. program,”
Reinecke graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s in education, then proceeded to return in 2014 for her masters in special education. In following, this year she attended online classes to receive her Ed.S. Reinecke, who is currently Mrs. Midwest, also holds Mrs. Kansas crowns from 2010 and 2015, all leading her toward the running for Mrs. United States. Alongside her love for special education and pageantry, though, is her fight for adoption awareness.
“It was our experiences with the adoption process and the difficulties we had along the way that really inspired us to become adoption advocates,” Reinecke said. “So through the title of Mrs. Midwest and Mrs. Kansas I was able to use that title to basically make a megaphone for my voice, to make my voice louder so that I could share our story with others and inspire other people to also pursue adoption.”
After giving birth to her firstborn, Reinecke learned that future pregnancies could be dangerous, so she and her husband turned to adoption. As her husband was also adopted, they had an idea of how the process worked, though the two were in for a surprise.
“We tried for two years and faced secondary infertility and decided to adopt,” Reinecke said. “And so five days before our (adopted) son was born we got a positive pregnancy test after two years of infertility. We were elated; we were going to have two babies in a year! We brought our son home and found out I was actually pregnant with twins, so our family went from one to four in eight months.”
From her experiences with adoption, Reinecke has partnered with the Nebraska Children’s Home Society since becoming Mrs. Midwest. She hopes that with the Mrs. United States title it will help to create a similar children’s society across the entire United States.
“Well, hopefully, if all goes well and if I win the title, then I will use that title to go out and advocate and hopefully end up in Washington, DC, eventually to advocate for adoption legislation so that this becomes an easier process for parents,” she said. “And even if I don’t win, then our mission still stays the same and I just hope to raise that awareness.”
Through this goal, Reinecke hopes to make adoption a more affordable and appealing option for families who have experienced similar events as her and her family.
“The goal of the Nebraska Children’s Home Society is to unite parents with children with their families to find loving and forever homes for these children where money is not something that restricts people from being parents, because that’s not fair,” she said. “People are taking out second mortgages on their houses; I mean, I was willing to sell my wedding ring, I was willing to do whatever it took to raise however many thousands of dollars that we needed to raise in order to become a mom again.”