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

Press Release Date:  Friday, November 02, 2007  
Contact Information:  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, 2007) -- The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) honored nine adoptive families tonight at a reception celebrating “Forever Families.”

“These families offer their children a remarkable love and the state an extraordinary service,” CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell said. “We honor the adoptive parents who welcome such vulnerable children into their hearts and their homes.”

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 Families” awards were established in 2003.

Governor Ernie Fletcher has proclaimed November Adoption Awareness Month in Kentucky.

“Adoptive parents have a boundless love,” Governor Fletcher said. “In giving once vulnerable children a home and a future, they are the Commonwealth’s unsung heroes.”

Mike Grimes, manager of the adoption services branch in CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services, said parents like tonight’s honorees are one of the state’s best resources for recruiting and advising new adoptive parents.

“Adoption can be a difficult transition,” Grimes said. “These veteran parents become mentors to our newer adoptive families and can guide them through the challenges of parenthood.”

Grimes said adoptive parents have access to other resources, like mentor support groups, college tuition waivers for adopted children and regular training opportunities.

The need for adoptive homes grows every year, Grimes said. Of the nearly 7,500 children in out of home care, more than 1,900 have the goal of adoption. More than 500 are legally free for adoption with no identified adoptive family. 
“We have a critical need for families willing to foster siblings, older teens and African-American children,” he said. “Our honored ’forever families’ exemplify the commitment and compassion we need from parents to give our waiting children the love they may have never known.”

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

Award winners are:

• Bennie and Ragena Boyd, Johnson County, Flat Gap (Eastern Mountain Region)
• Freddie and Susan Henson, Fayette County, Lexington (Southern Bluegrass Region)
• Lonnie and Margaret King, Pulaski County, Ferguson (Cumberland Region)
• Ariella and Alonzo Majors, Jefferson County, Louisville (Jefferson Region)
• Kenneth and Mary McBride, Hopkins County, Dawson Springs (The Lakes Region)
• William and Phyllis Sexton, Morgan County, West Liberty (Northeastern Region)
• Tommy and Romona Silva, Larue County, Hodgenville (Salt River Trail)
• Michael and Valerie Leeke, Kenton County, Villa Hills (Northern Bluegrass Region)
• Pam Rone, Henderson County, Corydon (Two Rivers Region)

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Last Updated 11/2/2007