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Ceremony for adoptive parents, their children was family affair


CONCORD — Adoptive parents and their children were at the State House Wednesday afternoon to join Gov. Maggie Hassan and other state officials in a ceremony marking Adoption Awareness month.

"I am very grateful for all the work that you do to provide loving homes to each and every New Hampshire child," Gov. Hassan told those in attendance. "I guess it goes without saying, but we can't say it enough, that every child has the right to belong to a loving family. We all know how important a stable family life is to our children's futures, we all now how important adoption is to cause. When we empower each and every child, each and every individual, we all get stronger."

Hassan read a proclamation declaring November Adoption Awareness Month. All children attending the ceremony received teddy bears as part of Adoption Awareness Month.

In New Hampshire, between October 2012 and September 30, 2013, 110 adoptions were finalized. Of those, 32 children were adopted by relatives.

Maggie Bishop, director of the state Division of Children Youth and Families, said her aim is to make sure that no child goes through life without their natural or adoptive parents.

"I don't want any children aging out of our system without developing a healthy adult connection," she said. "I'm pleased to see so many of you here today, to recognize Adoption Awareness Month and to promote the cause of children waiting for families here in New Hampshire."

Bishop's office oversees several programs developed to encourage adoption and assure the success of adoptive parents. They include a post-adoption program that offers support to new parents after an adoption if finalized, mediated adoption, where a birth-parent is guaranteed certain continuing rights after adoption, and increased reliance on faith-based support of children needing homes, as well as their natural and adoptive parents.

Acting Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, an adoptive parent himself, thanked all attendees for helping to give children in New Hampshire loving homes.

"It really has been an honor to be at this event over the last six years," said Toumpas. "I am an adoptive father, and my daughter was five months old to the day when she first came into my arms. She is now 26 years old and knows everything in the world. Thank you to all the adoptive parents here today. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to the children and families that need us the most."

Toumpas also announced a partnership with WMUR, which will begin airing a New Hampshire Waiting Child segments starting in January.

Carol Boudreau, a grandmother from Nashua, was recognized during the ceremony and served as guest speaker. She spoke about her own journey — and the struggles she faced — trying to adopt her granddaughter Cameron as her daughter. Boudreau said the long legal process she faced recently ended with her adopting the child as her own.

"To my newly adopted daughter Cameron — I love you, and I hope that you feel that you finally have a place that you can call home, with permanency and security," said Boudreau.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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