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November 15. 2012 9:28PM

Celebration honors adoptive families and their advocates


Heath Hooper, president of the NH Foster and Adoptive Parents Association and his son Josiah were among those attending a statewide gathering of adoptive families, Thursday at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord. November is National Adoption Month. (Paula Tracy/Union Leader)

CONCORD - Adoptive families, state officials and child protection advocates met at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center Thursday to mark the state's success in finding a permanent and caring family for 100 children in the past year.

The number is slightly less than the previous year but that is in part because there are fewer children needing adoption, said Eileen Mullen of the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Heath Hooper, president of the New Hampshire Foster and Adoptive Parents Association, welcomed the families to the event with his son, Josiah.

The day included free teddy bears, cookies and juice and an opportunity to view the exhibits and movie at the science center.

Nationally there are an estimated 107,000 children waiting for adoption.

Lisa and John Marro became licensed to adopt in 1994 and now have eight adopted children and expect to welcome another child, their ninth, into their home.

Some of the children have complicated behavioral concerns.

Lisa Marro said she considers herself "blessed eight times with the miracle of adoption," noting the children who have surrounded them have been "an answer to our prayers," and that it is an awesome privilege to be an adoptive parent.

"It's not always a bed of roses," she said. "I am so glad we did not let the fear of the unknown overtake us."

Reaching out for support was a wise choice, Marro said, and the state has helped in many ways including support groups and access to community services.

It helped them make their home bigger to accommodate for some of their children who cannot sleep with other children at night.

She said while some called her crazy, "the last 18 years have been the best of my life ... our journey is still unfolding."

Deputy Commissioner Mary Ann Cooney of Health and Human Services congratulated the families for all that they do and noted that she walks past portraits each day at work of children who still need a forever family and it reminds her of the importance of her job.

"It is love that creates a family," she said.

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Paula Tracy may be reached at ptracy@unionleader.com.


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