DENVER, Nov. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of National Adoption Month and to encourage more Coloradans to consider adoption from foster care, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) recognized five exceptional adoptive families from across the state in a virtual celebration.
"The five families we celebrate this month demonstrate the power of unconditional love and support that helps kids thrive," said Michelle Barnes, Executive Director of CDHS. "They have done much more than open their homes and families to Colorado children – they have also provided safety and stability."
Since January 2021, 551 Colorado children and youth in foster care have been adopted. Currently there are 436 Colorado children and youth who are waiting for a family. Most children and youth who are adopted from foster care are adopted by their foster parents.
Every Colorado community needs adoptive and foster parents, especially those who are willing to care for children with complex behavioral and mental health needs, sibling groups and children whose first language is not English. Adoptive and foster parents must be at least 21 or older and be able to provide a safe, loving and stable family environment. There are no limitations based on income, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
"We know that people are curious about adoption and want to know more about the process," said Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families. "By sharing their stories in our public awareness campaign, these five families will help us inspire others and find families for waiting children and youth."
The five families recognized for National Adoption Month are:
Beth and Jimmy Cundiff from Bayfield, certified by La Plata County
Ten years ago Beth and Jimmy met two brothers, Devin and Zayden, who were in foster care with Beth's sister in Denver. The couple became foster parents so they could care for the brothers, and they would later go on to adopt them. Since then, Beth and Jimmy have adopted three more children and youth and they continue to care for older youth in foster care. Jimmy is a football coach, and the family has a passion for sports. They participate in football as well as wrestling and basketball. They also enjoy participating in outdoor activities together, including paddle boarding, hunting and fishing.
Christie and Maggie Duffy from Elizabeth, certified by A New World
After becoming foster parents five years ago, Christie and Maggie decided to pursue adoption in order to keep sibling groups together. In addition to caring for more than 35 children and youth in foster care, they have adopted eight children under 7-years-old and the couple continues to care for children and youth in foster care. In addition to having a house full of children, they have many farm animals and five dogs, including a trained service dog. Their love of animals helps them instill the values of kindness and responsibility in their children.
Ashlette and Eric Lopez from Colorado Springs, certified by Courage Community
Ashlette and Eric always knew they wanted to be foster parents. Shortly after their first son was born, they began their foster-to-adopt journey as kinship parents for Eric's cousin. Since then, Eric and Ashlette have adopted seven children, including multiple sibling sets. As foster parents, Ashlette and Eric have cared for 29 children and youth who have reunited with their biological families. Having been in foster care at a young age, Ashlette is dedicated to keeping siblings together and maintaining connections to biological family members. Although Eric is deaf and Ashlette is legally blind, they teach their children that having a disability doesn't need to stop anyone from living life to the fullest. This competitive family of 10 enjoys cheering each other on at sporting events and competing in family games.
Adriane Maloney from Grand Junction, certified by Garfield County
When Adriane learned she would not be able to have more biological children at a young age, she chose to pursue foster care, having been in foster care briefly when she was 15. Nearly six years ago, Adriane and her son, Caedin, began to welcome children and youth ages two to 17 into their home. Since becoming a foster parent with Garfield County, Adriane has cared for more than 34 children and youth and currently has a 6-year-old girl in foster care in her home. Adriane has adopted three children and youth from foster care and has maintained connections with the biological families of children in her home as well as the families of children and youth who have left her home. Adriane has developed a close friendship with the mother of two boys she cared for at the beginning of her foster care journey.
Krissondra Mapes and Lucas Sarchet from Greeley, adopted from Weld County
With two kids already, Lucas and Krissondra hadn't planned on growing their family when they took in Lucas' niece Kaitlin and her half-brother Tanner in 2015. But, just one year later, the half siblings' adoption was finalized and the family moved into a larger home in Greeley. Just this year, they finalized the adoption of Kaitlin and Tanner's younger half-brother, 9-year-old Colton. Lucas and Krissondra have watched the children grow and excel in their home, but they have also overcome many challenges together as a family. The hard parts, Krissondra and Lucas say, are what make them a stronger family.
The Colorado Department of Human Services CO4Kids campaign encourages all Coloradans to strengthen families and communities. For information about how to become a foster or adoptive parent, visit CO4Kids.org.
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SOURCE Colorado Department of Human Services