ST. GEORGE — Some 300 people gathered at the Town Square Park in St. George Friday afternoon for the fourth annual Celebrating Families Through Adoption event.
This celebration aims to strengthen families and bring awareness to adoption and foster care and how they impact the lives of children, birth parents, foster parents and adopting parents.
Premiere Adoption International Program Coordinator Tasia Roth became passionate about adoption after her grandparents adopted her and her little brother when she was 7 years old.
“My birth parents had separated when I was very young and then, through custody issues, we got turned over to the state. My grandparents later adopted us,” Roth said. “It didn’t really bother me knowing that I was adopted, but I didn’t advertise it. My brother struggled a lot more; he wondered a lot what life would have been like if we would have been raised by our parents.”
Even though Roth has a passion for adoption, there are still some hard days, she said, but she feels she is part of a larger group making a difference in the lives of children and their families.
Last year, Premiere Adoption was able to place 32 children with permanent homes, and this year, they have already placed 36 children. One of the adoptions was international; the rest have been domestic, which means they are finding homes for children who live in the United States.
“The state’s main goal is to reunite children with their birth parents and so they attempt to find relatives to place the children first,” Roth said. “If that doesn’t work, there are so many people looking to start families.”
Amy Bates, who works with the Utah Foster Care Foundation, said she has fostered 54 children, from infants to 19-year-olds, throughout her 15 years as a foster parent. Bates said she has adopted eight of her foster children in addition to giving birth to two children of her own. At one time, Bates said, she was caring for 12 children in her home in order to allow sibling groups to stay together.
Foster care is offered to 19-year-olds even though, technically, at 18 one becomes an adult, Bates said, because people still need a family.
“My grandmother was a foster parent. It’s always been in my heart to become one,” Bates said. “It’s hard to say goodbye to the children because I bond with them in the first two minutes that I meet them. But I feel blessed to be able to impact a child’s life. They need someone in their corner to open up a window and show them what the future can bring.”
When a child is put into a foster home, the birth parents are given a year to resolve their issues and follow a program allotted to them, Bates said. If, at the end of that year, the birth parents have not made adequate progression, an alternate permanent home is sought.
“There are ups and downs because these children are coming from traumatic histories, but we are breaking cycles of abuse and breaking generations of abuse,” Roth said.
Tossinee Young and her husband, of LaVerkin, decided to become foster parents after being unable to have kids due to fertility issues. Four years, 14 foster kids and three adopted children later, their wish had been fulfilled — they had a family.
“All three are blood related,” Young said. “We’re happy to have them. With my oldest daughter, Jesse, she remembered some things about where she used to live. She came to me and said, ‘I’m glad you adopted me. Thanks for being my mom.'”
Wayne Loeber, of St. George, is the grandparent of two adopted children who were adopted as newborns by his daughter Amy, who is a single mother.
“It was the best thing for her. She doesn’t want to get married, but she wanted children,” Loeber said. “It’s wonderful being a grandpa; it doesn’t matter if they are adopted or not. At my age, to have these little creatures around is a gift.”
When asked about adoption, Ian Bates, 8, said, “I like being adopted because it’s happy.”
His sister, Megan Bates, 10, said, “Adoption is good because everyone deserves a family.”
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
- Free event to celebrate families, adoption
- The Adoption Exchange’s Heart Gallery shares the art of loving children
- A new pet offers holiday cheer; upcoming adoption opportunities from Southern Utah rescue groups
- Community celebrates adoption; STGnews Videocast and Photo Gallery
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