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      Gov. Heineman Proclaims November as Adoption Awareness Month

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      Gov. Dave Heineman

      Gov. Dave Heineman Wednesday proclaimed November asAdoption Awareness Month for the state of Nebraska. Adoption Awareness Monthspotlights children in foster care who are waiting to find permanent, lovingfamilies.

      "Many Nebraskans look forward to spending the upcomingholidays renewing traditions with their family," said Gov. Heineman."Meanwhile, children across our state in foster care won't share these specialdays with a permanent, stable, loving family. I'm asking Nebraskans to consideradopting foster children and I want to thank the parents who have opened theirhearts and homes to the children who are in the child welfare system. Adoptiveparents are making a positive impact every day in the lives of the mostvulnerable children in our state."

      In 2012, more than 200 foster children have beenadopted. Another 130 are expected to be adopted in ceremonies during the comingweeks.

      "Not only are foster children positively changedthrough adoption, but so are the lives of the adopting parents," said ThomasPristow, director of Children and Family Services in the Department of Healthand Human Services. "Statistics show that without a permanent family, childrenin foster care are at increased risk for homelessness, substance abuse andcrime as young adults. On the other hand, adopted children are more likely togrow up as healthy, functioning and productive members of society. Thesechildren have experienced so much in their young lives. Many of them are oversix years old and find it difficult to become adopted."

      Jack and Cathy Taff of Omaha joined the governor for the newsconference. They have adopted two young men, served as guardians of another andas foster parents for several others. Their two sons, Lukas, 18, and Paul, 15,joined them at the announcement of Adoption Awareness Month.

      "My wife and I both like kids and we want to have an effect on youngmen's lives," Jack Taff said. "We have adopted older boys because they needsomewhere to go and they need permanency and stability. We don't stand on thesidelines and watch."

      Taff said they've found that positive reinforcement makes a differenceto the young men. "We tell them they can be successful and they can accomplishsomething. We try to explain where they're doing things right and wrong. Onceone or two are headed in a positive direction, you add one more and theyusually go in the right direction, too. It takes patience and you need to beable to sit with them and talk to them.

      "I would encourage others to get consider adopting foster children,"Taff said. "Take the chance and it will help you as much as you help them."

      In a loving and caring environment, foster childrendevelop networks of support through friends, relatives, neighbors and theorganizations they join. More information about the foster children availablefor adoption can be found on the DHHS website at: http://dhhs.ne.gov/AdoptionKids.Or, call 1-800-7-PARENT (1-800-772-7368).

      Courtesy- Gov. Dave Heineman

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