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Families recognized for providing love and homes to adoptive children

November 19, 2003

Bismarck, N.D. - North Dakota Lt. Governor Jack Dalrymple joined Department of Human Services' Executive Director Carol K. Olson, other agency officials, adoption professionals, and families at the capitol today to celebrate Adoption Awareness Month by recognizing individuals and families and by drawing attention to the ongoing need for foster and adoptive parents.

"Today we celebrate successes, and we honor people who have helped to provide love, stability, and safe homes to children," Dalrymple said. "There are still children in North Dakota who are waiting for families. I encourage individuals and families to learn more about foster parenting and adoption."

While honoring all adoptive families, the event highlighted the needs of children, many formerly in foster care, who have special placement needs either because they have disabilities, are part of a sibling group being placed together, are older than age seven, or are of an ethnic minority.

The honorees included Allen and Kris Lindeman of Dodge, N.D., who received the Special Needs Adoptive Family of the Year Award. The parents of two adult children, the Lindeman's were honored for opening their hearts and home to three young children with special needs.

Adoptive parents Daryl and Brenda Peterson, of Forman, N.D. and birth parents Charmaine Mattheis and Evan Pippenger were also honored. They received the Adoption Triad Award, which honors open adoptions involving children placed as infants. These adoptive parents and birth parents have maintained an ongoing, open relationship.

Bobbi Vosper, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, Minneapolis, M.N.; Tom Cummings, Pembina Special Education Cooperative, Pembina, N.D.; and Eileen Kastner, Adults Adopting Special Kids (AASK) program, Lutheran Social Services, Grand Forks, N.D., each received the Adoption Advocate Award.

Vosper was recognized for her work helping North Dakota families and agencies involved in international adoptions. Cummings was recognized for actively serving adoptive families and adopted children with special needs during his career as a special education director. Kastner was recognized for providing exemplary support services through the AASK program at Lutheran Social Services.

Following the awards, organizers held a "calling out" ceremony to highlight some North Dakota children who are waiting to be adopted. The AASK program is currently working to place these children with families.

In 2002, 328 adoptions were completed in North Dakota. Of these, 79 involved adoptions of children with special needs placed through the AASK program, 53 involved healthy infants, and 13 involved foreign-born children. The remaining 183 were adopted by stepparents.

Families interested in exploring adoption can contact the AASK Program, which provides adoption services exclusively for children in the foster care system, or one of the other state-licensed child placing agencies in North Dakota: the Adoption Option (a collaborative effort of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and the Village Family Service Center), Catholic Charities North Dakota, Christian Family Life Services, and LDS Family Services.

Placement agencies provide a variety of services including family recruitment, preparation and assessment, child preparation, and placement and post-placement supportive services.

The Frank O. Becker Endowment Fund, a component of the North Dakota Community Foundation, provided the funding for the celebration event.

Contacts:

Julie Hoffman, Department of Human Services, Adoption Administrator, (701) 328-4805,
Leanne Johnson, AASK Program Director, (701) 271-3265, or
Heather Steffl, N.D. Department of Human Services, (701) 328-4933

 

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