TLC Parents Receive Angels in Adoption Award
Meredith Pack, PR & Marketing Manager
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCAI)’s Angels in Adoption® Program provides Members of Congress the opportunity to honor an individual, couple, or organization from their district that have made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of homes. These heroes hail from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and represent the wide spectrum of individuals involved in the adoption and foster care process.
Heather and Wayne Walker have been licensed with the Home of the Innocents since 2009 and are deeply committed to our organization and to the children in the custody of the State of Kentucky. In their tenure, they have taken nine children into their home – six of which they adopted. They parent children that are three to 21 years of age. The children placed in their home were deemed therapeutic as evidenced by significant emotional and behavioral issues. All were, or are, wards of the State of Kentucky and removed from their biological caregivers. These children have histories of significant trauma and require skilled and trained parents to maintain them in a home environment. There is no doubt that the Walkers are deserving of this achievement. The children in and out of home care in Kentucky are stigmatized and labeled as “difficult children,” given their functional status and traumatic backgrounds. Most foster and adoptive parents quit after taking these challenging children into their home, or only commit to helping a few children. Even after adopting six children and caring for nine throughout the last eight years, the Walkers home remains open, and their desire to foster and adopt additional children in out of home care remains.
The Walkers are in Washington DC with our President & CEO Paul Robinson and our Vice President of Residential Treatment Kelly Pullen, to participate in three days of events all designed to train them in using their personal experience to affect change on behalf of children in need of homes and to celebrate their hard work and dedication to the issue. Included in their trip are a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building, a Congressional Lunch, a Legislative Seminar and the Angels in Adoption® Reception and Gala.
Since the Angels in Adoption® program’s inception in 1999, over 2,600 Angels have received this honor. CCAI also honors a select number of National Angels in Adoption®. As the name implies, these are individuals whose contributions in the fields of adoption or foster care have had a national impact. Past recipients of this award include Korie and Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty, Deborra-Lee Furness Jackman, Katherine Heigl, singer/songwriter Josh Kelley, PEOPLE Magazine, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, First Lady Laura Bush, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Kristin Chenoweth, Rhea Perlman, Bruce Willis, Al Roker, Muhammad Ali, Patti LaBelle, Jane Seymour, Henry Winkler, and CBS Studios.