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News

400 walk to honor adoptive and foster families

Published: 11/12/2011

From the Pensacola News Journal

Larry and Diane Burke were surrounded by four of their adopted children on Saturday.

 

The couple have adopted nine children since 1998 and said it's a decision they have never regretted.

 

"Who doesn't want something to call your family?" Larry Burke asked.

 

The Burkes joined 400 others in the "Footprints to a Forever Family" walk to celebrate adoptive and foster families in the Pensacola area.

 

November is National Adoption Month, and several local organizations decided to have 1.5-mile walks to celebrate adoption and foster care.

 

The walk began at the Gulf Coast Kid's House on 12th Avenue and wound its way through East Hill to Bayview Park at 20th Avenue and Mallory Street. At the park, families and volunteers mingled to express their gratitude for each other.

 

In addition to Gulf Coast Kid's House, FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview, and the Guardian Ad Litem program were just a few of the organizations involved.

 

Stacey Kostevicki, executive director of Gulf Coast Kid's House, said the walk was organized to raise awareness of adoption and to recruit adoptive families.

 

"We have a really great turnout," she said. "You feel a sense of pride."

 

Peggy Custred, associate adoption coordinator with FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview, coordinated the walk.

 

She said the event had been planned since the beginning of summer, and that she hopes it will become an annual event.

 

Custred also mentioned the importance of being an adoptive parent. She said it requires "commitment, flexibility and unconditional love."

 

"We need families that can meet the children's needs," she said.

 

Mike Harris, another adoptive parent, has adopted two children in the past six years.

 

"It's definitely rewarding," he said. "You give them a permanent connection to a home."

 

He also said adoption makes an impact on the community by giving the children an opportunity to make changes around them.

 

"As a community, you are putting children in a home with a family," he said. "Everyone needs a family."

 

Full article on PNJ.com


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