Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 19, 2012

The path to home

Fair promotes adoption awareness

Mike James
The Independent

CANNONSBURG — When she first started thinking about adoption in 2006, Johnda McGuire set some limits.

She didn’t want to go through an agency and she wasn’t about to bring back a baby from halfway around the world.

It was not a good time for such a life-changing decision; McGuire was quite busy with her real estate work. But an inner voice kept nudging her.

“It kept getting stronger until the conviction was so strong I couldn’t think of anything else,” she said.

So she found herself talking to adoption agencies and in January 2008 found the six-month-old baby girl destined to become her daughter — in Kyrgyzstan, which is not precisely halfway around the globe but close enough.

Now, Josie McGuire holds up five splayed fingers when you ask how old she is, and attends preschool.

McGuire knows she took the right path in finding her little girl and wants other prospective parents to find the same happiness she did.

That is why she, along with some other adoptive families, attended a yearly adoption fair Saturday at the Kyova Mall.

Hosted by For Jamie’s Sake, the foster care and adoption resource center, the fair brought together several agencies that work with prospective parents to navigate the adoption maze.

For Jamie’s Sake schedules the fair every year on National Adoption Awareness Day, which is in the middle of National Adoption Awareness Month, said executive director Lea Ann Gollihue.

Bringing service providers together under one roof gives prospective parents the opportunity to explore different avenues, such as choosing between foster parenting, fostering with adoption as an option, and outright adoption.

The adoption process is complex and can be overwhelming, and agency representatives at the information fair were there to help sort it all out, she said.

Kelly Conley, for instance, is program director for Necco, a family-owned and operated agency that places about 100 children in 50 homes in Northeast Kentucky.

She was there to explain her agency’s services and talk about the children it places. Most of them are in foster care or up for adoption because of abuse and neglect, and some have behavior issues.

Conley also explains the training and approval process, which can take about three months, she said.

The main thing to know, she said, is that the number of children always exceeds the demand. “We need homes. There are so many kids and we can’t get enough homes certified.”

The Ramey-Estep Home, which most people know as a residential facility, also places children in foster care, said community-based services program manager Carrie Pemberton.

Her program places children in homes in Northeast Kentucky counties, where they attend local schools, she said. Some of them eventually return to their parents and others become eligible for adoption.

Being at the fair helps raise awareness of Ramey-Estep’s services, she said.

For more information about For Jamie’s Sake, contact the agency’s office at (606) 327-5511 or (606) 327-0017. The office is at 1544 Winchester Ave., Suite 804, in the Community Trust Bank building.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.