1999 Angels in Adoption

Date: 1999-11-18

Text From the Congressional Record

Landrieu, Mary [D-LA]

Begin 1999-11-18 17:39:02
End 17:49:25
Length 00:10:23

Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I am appreciative of the 10 minutes granted to speak on a different subject. I understand that mining is an important issue and deserves our attention. Until it is resolved, we will probably be working for many days. I know that the Senior Senator from West Virginia feels very passionately about this issue, and other Members may want to add their remarks as the evening goes on, so I will try to be brief.

A week from tomorrow, many of us will head home to be with our families and celebrate Thanksgiving. In my mind, it is extremely appropriate that Thanksgiving falls in this month, which many of you know is National Adoption Month. For like Thanksgiving, National Adoption Month is a time not only for celebration but also for reflection.

So let me begin with some facts about adoption that people may find interesting in hopes that this would be something the American people will embrace. In 1992, the last year for which adoption statistics were available, there were 127,000 children adopted in the United States. Forty-two percent of these children were adopted by step parents or relatives; 15 percent of these adoptions were from foster care; 5 percent adopted children from other countries; and 37 percent of these children were
adopted by private agencies.

The poster behind me is a collage of just a few of the 130,000 legally freed children awaiting permanent families. Some of them are only children and some are sibling groups, some are younger children some are older. Although they are all different, all of these beautiful children are looking for someone to love and care for them and to make them a part of their home.

The fact remains that there are half a million children in foster care. By way of comparison, allow me to refer to a hometown landmark, the Superdome. The Superdome has hosted several superbowls--the Saints have never been to one there, but other teams have. We can seat about 80,000 people in the Superdome. To get an accurate vision of the number of children, picture 5 superdomes filled with children, one in every seat. That is a lot of children--if you think about one in each seat in five Superdomes--in need of homes in America.

The average age of children in foster care is 9.5 years. The problem is many children spend the average of 3 years in foster care. Three years is too long to live without the love and security of a permanent family. We need to shorten that time. If a child has to be removed from their biological parents because of terrible, unfortunate circumstances, they should spend a short time in foster care and then be placed permanently with a loving family. Seventy percent of the children available for
adoption and foster care are under the age of 10. They should not spend their tender years without a home.

True, we are making progress and we should be proud. In 1996, 28,000 children in foster care were placed in permanent homes. It is projected that, in 1999, the number will be 36,000, an increase of about 30 percent.

In celebration of those who made this progress possible, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption instituted a wonderful idea that we hope will go on year after year, The Congressional Angels In Adoption. We asked all of our colleagues to send in recommendations for individuals in their respective States and districts who had done something extraordinary in the area of adoption. I would like to submit for the RECORD a list of the 55 families who have been nominated and selected for the
first 1999 Angels In Adoption Awards.

I ask unanimous consent that this list be printed in the RECORD.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

1999 Angels in Adoption

Freddie Mac Foundation, Virginia,
Nancy Kleingartner, Bismarck, North Dakota,
Jeff and Earletta Morris, Marshalltown, Iowa,
Earl and Judy Priest, Caldwell, Idaho,
Dave Thomas, Dublin, Ohio,
Peter and Mary Myers, Sikeston, Missouri,
James and Denise Jones, Grand Rapids, Michigan,
Fletcher Thompson & Jim Thompson, Spartanburg, South Carolina,
Carol McMahon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
Lori and Willie Johnson, Russellville, Arkansas,
Candice Mueller, Ewing, New Jersey,
Joan McLaughlin, Morristown, New Jersey,
Carol Stoudt, Fargo, North Dakota,
Bill and Laura Trickey, Kansas City, Missouri,
Tom and Debbie Ritter, Warrentown, Missouri,
Debbie Breden, O'Fallon, Missouri,
Senator Gordon and Sharon Smith,
Hope Marindin, Chevy Chase, Maryland,
Doreen Moreira, Cabin John, Maryland,
Sky Westerlund, of Lawrence, Kansas.
Doug and Mary Spangler, Kansas City,
Vivian Robinson, Harrisburg, Illinois,
Reverend George Coates, Eldorado, Illinois,
Ms. Gloria King of Oakland, California,
Becky and Mike Dornoff, Williamsburg, Michigan,
Steve and Cherie Karban, Rapid River, Michigan,
James L. Gritter, Traverse City, Michigan,
Ms. Sidney Duncan, Detroit, Michigan,
Anne Pierson, Lancaster, Philadelphia,
Jane Sarnes, Lexington, Nebraska,
Peggy Soule, Rochester, New York,
Laurence and Jane Leach, Raleigh County, West Virginia,
Judge Gary Johnson, West Virginia,
Hays and Gay Town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
David and Jane Zatz Redmond, Washington,
Dennis and Shirley Smithson, Nashville, Tennessee,
Anne Desiderio, Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Francis Ann Mobley, Daytona Beach, Florida,
Kurt and Stacy Stahl, Lake Oswego, Oregon,
Sallie Olson, Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Ruth Ann Gaines, Des Moines, Iowa,
Larry and Jackie Bebo, Berthoud, Colorado,
Gary Cerkvenik and Kim Stokes, Britt, Minnesota,
Aimee Oullette, Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
Bill and Brenda Baker, Redfield, South Dakota,
Richard and Karen Butler, Faith, South Dakota,
Reverend Ed and Diane Nesseslhuf, Vermillion, South Dakota,
Debbie Hoffman, Sioux Falls, South Dakota,
Melvina and Louie Winters, Pine Ridge, South Dakota,
Geraldine Bluebird, Pine Ridge, South Dakota,
Scott and Val Parsley, Madison, South Dakota,
Mrs. Brenda Edusei, Bedford, New Hampshire,
Debra Klopert, St. Louis, Missouri,
Jessica Dennis of Rosedale, New York.

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