Sunday, August 3, 2003

Celebrating families made around the world

By Andrea Uhde
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] At the Celebrations of Children Reunion at Parky's Farm Saturday, Bill Culkin of Martinsville, Ind., and his daughter, Sarah, 3, enjoyed the event promoting international adoption.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
| ZOOM |
Emily Price, 15, pushes her plate of leftovers at her mother. "Here, mom," she says, smiling and getting comfortable on the wooden bench. She speaks with a Chinese accent.

Her mother, Kirsten Price, sits across from her, talking to a friend. There's not a hint of Chinese in her voice.

Kirsten Price, 37, of Waynesville, adopted Emily two years ago from China. She adopted Olivia, 3, shortly before that. She also has two biological children.

"It's something I've wanted to do since I was a teenager," Kirsten Price said of the adoption.

Across the nation, and in the Cincinnati area, Americans are forming families with children from dozens of countries, including China, Guatemala and Vietnam, said Brenda Raymond-Ball, the Ohio administrator for Families Thru International Adoption, a non-profit Indiana and Ohio child placement agency that specializes in international adoptions.

"Cincinnati has more going on adoption-wise than many places do," said Raymond-Ball. "You're probably hard-pressed to not find someone (here) who doesn't know someone who's adopted internationally."

Many of those families were at the agency's 2003 Celebration of Children Reunion Saturday at Parky's Farm in Winton Woods. About 1,000 attended the reunion, which included pony rides and games.

Bill McClure, of West Chester, attended with his 11-year-old biological son, Andy. McClure, 38, and his son walked around with Jake Miller, a 2-year-old Chinese boy adopted by one of McClure's co-workers. McClure was trying to get an idea of what it will be like when he has his own Chinese daughter following him around.

"Andy's 11 and grown and we have the means to help a child who's less fortunate," said McClure. The cost of adopting an child internationally can range from $15,000 to $30,000 for travel, agency fees and other services. There is a tax credit of $10,000.

Andy likes the idea of having a Chinese sister. "I've always wanted a sister," he says.

In May, the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome prompted the China Center of Adoption Affairsto stop adoptions for about five weeks.

"SARS really closed things down," said Dr. Debbi Borchers, president of the Greater Cincinnati Families with Children from China. "Since the SARS crisis is over so far, the gates have opened and the China Center of Adoption Affairs is now processing things as fast as they can."

If you go

What: Families Thru International Adoption Celebration of Children Reunion.

When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. today.

Where: Parky's Farm, off Winton Road, Winton Woods.

Cost: Free.


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