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Health and Family Services Cabinet
State’s Adoptive Families Honored at Reception; 16 families receive awards

Press Release Date:  Thursday, November 02, 2006  
Contact Information:  Mike Grimes, (502) 564-2147; Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180; or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

Note to editors and producers: Most families will consent to media interviews. Short profiles and photos are available for each family. Call Anya Armes Weber at (502) 564-6180, ext. 4014, for information.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2006)  -- Before adopting their children, the Pattersons, of Montgomery County, traveled almost 7,000 miles over five months to the children’s foster home to ease the move between families. The Blairs, of Fayette County, switched churches to give their adopted girls an easier transition to their new home. The Hatches, of Hopkins County, have made many visits with their daughter’s birth family, even after her adoption was finalized, to assure her of the importance of these connections.

These are three of the 16 adoptive families who were honored tonight by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) at a reception celebrating “Forever Families” formed because of adoptions through state foster care.

Governor Ernie Fletcher, who has proclaimed November Adoption Awareness Month, said adoptive families are vital to Kentucky’s social care network.

“Adoptive parents welcome our most vulnerable children into their hearts and into their homes,” he said. “We recognize that without them, so many children would never have a ‘forever family.’“

Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell said his cabinet appreciates the work of adoptive parents.

“Adopting can be a difficult process,” he said. “But the rewards are so fulfilling. Cabinet staff support adoptive families every step of the way.”

Birdwhistell, who chairs the state’s blue ribbon panel on adoption, said his cabinet is working to streamline the adoption process while maintaining the balance between parental rights and the best interests of each child.

At the Frankfort dinner reception, cabinet staff read biographies of the honorees who were selected for providing support to other adoptive families and furthering state adoptions in their communities. The “Forever Familes” awards were established in 2003.

The need for adoptive homes grows every year, said Eugene Foster, Ed. D., Child and Family Services undersecretary, at the reception.

“We have a critical need for families willing to foster siblings, older teens and African-American children,” he said. “Our honored foster families exemplify the commitment and compassion we need from parents to give our waiting children the love they may have never known.”

Of the almost 7,000 children in out-of-home care, more than 1,900 have the goal of adoption, which means they can’t be reunited with their families because of abuse, neglect and other safety issues.

Jim Wilson, who works in the cabinet’s Jefferson County Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) office, received the Champion for Permanency Award, an honor for DCBS staff. Wilson was a founding member of the Special Needs Adoption Program and was a SNAP worker for more than 20 years. He has adopted six special needs children. Wilson is retiring from the cabinet later this year.

To learn more about adoption, log on to Or call the cabinet at (800) 432-9346 to request an information packet.

Award winners are:

• Christopher and Natasha Aubuchon, Whitley County
• Chris and Sara Bivens, Warren County
• Bret and Saundra Blair, Fayette County
• Russell and Elizabeth Cassady, Pike County
• Carl and Shana Craft, Knott County
• Betty Downey, Russell County
• John and Allegia Hatch, Hopkins County
• Jim and Raenon Justice, Campbell County
• Steve and Vivian Liles, Anderson County
• Benny Massey, Jefferson County
• Mike and Nora McCain, Scott County
• Tony and Amy Patterson, Montgomery County
• Don and BJ Rehrig, Daviess County
• Walter and Regina Robbins, Nelson County
• John and Jamie Smith, Lawrence County
• Mickey and Cora Stubblefield, Graves County

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Last Updated 11/2/2006