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During my relatively short time in newspapers, I’ve been welcomed into countless homes.
I’ve been welcomed into homes great and small, opulent and sparse. I’ve been welcomed into homes by those who are sick and dying, and by those who are healthy and living life to its fullest.
And last week, I was welcomed into the home of Tony and Connie Hernandez. Theirs is a home full of love, life, joy and laughter.
The family is, to put it simply, amazing.
Tony and Connie did what many parents may consider unthinkable. They took on the undeniable challenge of adopting a group of three siblings.
The Hernandez family served almost as unofficial foster parents for the three children before adopting them in 2001. They are part of a small group of families in the United States who have opened their homes to children in need of good families.
In Kentucky alone, more than 7,000 children are in the state’s foster care system. The area covered by Seven Counties Service averages 300 children in foster care annually.
Most of those children eventually return to their families. Those who do not are eligible for adoption, and often are adopted by their foster families.
Like most states, Kentucky has a dire need for more foster and adoptive families. In Henry County, 10 families have opened their homes as foster homes, and nine other homes have adopted.
Vicky Case-Kemper, with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services foster program, said that’s an all-time high for Henry County.
Comparatively, neighboring Trimble County has just one foster home and one adoptive family. Shelby County has 12-13 foster and adoptive families and Oldham has about 20.
As the Hernandez family can attest - it’s not necessarily an easy road to walk. But it is one that’s worthwhile.
Tony and Connie Hernandez say that the joys outweigh any difficulties they experienced, and now cannot imagine life without April, Josie and Trey.
If you’re interested in becoming foster parents, or perhaps adopting through Kentucky, contact CHFS and Kemper at at 1 (888) 698-2221, or (502) 633-2055.
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