Friday, October 12, 2001

Adoption fair focuses on special kids

26 agencies expected to attend Sunday

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        NEWPORT — Adoption agencies hope Sunday's Tristate Adoption Fair will help shrink the list of children with special needs waiting to be adopted.

        The sixth annual event takes place from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at The Syndicate restaurant on East Fifth Street.

        “The main attraction is that at last count, we had 26 agencies from around the Tristate,” said Ron Bertsch, director of the Therapeutic Foster Care Program at the Diocesan Catholic Children's Home in Fort Mitchell. “The biggest agencies are the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services and Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children and the Indiana Special Needs Adoption Program.”

        There will also be representatives from private agencies and groups that help people with international adoptions.

        According to Mr. Bertsch, there are 1,154 children age 7 and older in all of Kentucky and Indiana and Southwest Ohio waiting to be adopted.

        Cathy Downton is an adoption recruiter with the Children's Home of Cincinnati, the Roselawn agency that places children for Hamilton County. She said there are siblings who must be placed together, children who have been in state custody for more than a year and youngsters with medical, physical, emotional, mental or behavioral problems due to abuse.

        There will also be a panel discussion at 1:30 p.m. Sunday with people who have adopted children. Participants will be able to watch videotapes of children.

        Ms. Downton said there are several myths to be dispelled that have to do with marital status, age and real estate ownership.

        “People think because they are single, they cannot adopt,” Ms. Downton said. “You can be single, divorced or married.”

        Ms. Downton also said you only have to be 18 and can either rent or own a home.

        Mr. Bertsch said an average of 500-1,000 interested people have attended each of the previous five fairs.


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