Recognizing the miracle of adoption

Recognizing the miracle of adoption
November marked National Adoption Awareness Month with National Adoption Day on Nov. 17. Those occasions are opportunities for us to recognize those among us who have opened their hearts and homes to the adoptive process. With over 114,000 children available for adoption out of the U.S. foster care system and 450 in South Dakota alone, I think it is crucial to celebrate those social workers, lawyers, officials – and most importantly, parents – who help many children move from foster homes to adoptive families.

National Adoption Day was started in 2000 and helped complete foster care adoptions in nine jurisdictions in its first year. National Adoption Day has quickly grown since that time and is now celebrated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In total in 2006, over 3,300 adoptions were finalized on National Adoption Day.

Adoption has personally touched my life as two new grandchildren have been welcomed as members of my family.My son Brendan and his wife, Jana, recently adopted Trualem, age 10, and Peneal, age 8, from Ethiopia. I am now a proud grandfather of five and our family is larger and richer with them in it.

In 2007, I recognized Audrey Kirkpatrick as an Angel in Adoption.Audrey is a social worker in Rapid City. She is an integral part of Catholic Social Services, offering her knowledge to fellow employees and often her services to birth mothers and adoptive families 24 hours per day.

I am also proud to recognize the Amiotte family from Long Valley, whose portrait was displayed in my front office throughout the month as a part of the Voice of Adoption Adoptive Family Portrait Project. David and Malinda Amiotte began their foster care experience not planning to adopt. However, after meeting and growing attached to biological siblings Medina and David, and biological sisters JoAnne and Karen, David and Malinda wanted to keep these sibling groups together.Despite challenges with the legal process, adoptions for all of their children have been finalized and I wish them many years of happiness in the future.

I am committed to assisting children in the United States to find stable, loving and permanent homes and am proud that members of the Senate support ways to make adoption easier and more affordable. Congress has implemented a $10,000 tax credit for adoption expenses, and it is vitally important that this tax credit does not expire at the end of 2010.

The commitment of adoptive parents in South Dakota and throughout the country has had a positive impact on the lives of countless children.Even though National Adoption Awareness Month and National Adoption Day has passed, I will continue supporting efforts to make adoption easier for parents, children and those involved in the adoptive process. In doing so, more families across South Dakota and America can be enriched by the miracle of adoption.

For more information, call 605-668-8326/8329.

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