Adoption becomes ”˜mission of love’

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald
Justin Patton of Jasper lifted his son, Cale, 1, into the air while Justin’s wife, Kira, kayaked in Patoka Lake on Aug. 27. The couple started the process 28 months ago to adopt two children from Uganda — and are still waiting. They’ve since created a group called Forever Families with the intent of helping local families pay for adoptions. The group will hold its inaugural Forever 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, with proceeds going toward the Pattons’ adoption and that of a second family.

By ALEXANDRA SONDEEN
Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Justin and Kira Patton have been waiting for the final two-fifths of their family for more than two years.

The 28-year-old Jasper residents are trying to adopt a girl and a boy from Uganda. They started the process 28 months ago and their paperwork has been in Uganda since the day they brought their miracle baby boy, Cale, home from the hospital in February 2012.

“We really feel like God has promised this to us,” Kira said of the adoption. “We were promised to have our own, and we tried for two years. The doctors said I was never going to get pregnant and we did because it was promised to us. We feel the same way about the adoption.”

The couple, along with several members of Kira’s family, created the Forever Families group with the intent of helping local families pay for their adoptions. “Forever families” is a term used in adoption circles to describe an adopted child’s permanent family.

The group will hold its inaugural Forever 5K Run/Walk on Saturday. Proceeds from the event will support the Pattons’ adoption as well as that of a second family, which is remaining anonymous. Forever Families hopes to make the event an annual affair and support two new families going through domestic or international adoption each year.

“These babies are coming from a place where nobody wants them,” Brenda Huther of Newburgh, Kira’s aunt, said. “It’s not just about adopting, it’s about saving those innocent babies’ lives.”

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald
Kira Patton of Jasper, left, her son Cale, 1, and Kira’s mother, Bonnie Stone of Hillham, walked together down a path to the Patoka Lake beach Aug. 27. It has been Stone’s goal to participate in a 5K run/walk, so she and her family decided to host their own to raise money to help families with the fees associated with international adoption. The walk/run starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Jasper Youth Sports Complex.

The Pattons’ adoption will cost them $30,000 to $35,000 in paperwork and legal fees alone. Just the airfare for the couple to fly round-trip to Uganda twice as required in that country and bring back their new children will cost about $10,000. While the Pattons have been waiting to be matched with children, their paperwork expired and they had to pay another $900 to update it.

“We’ve cut back a million things to afford this adoption,” said Kira, who is a physical therapist with Amedisys Home Heath in Evansville. Her husband works for Walmart Tire & Lube Express in Jasper. “There’s no local support and we don’t qualify for the national grants because we have jobs and we’re not low income.”

Kira said Forever Families hopes to provide some funding toward local adoptive families’ travel expenses as most grants do not cover those fees.

Bonnie Stone, Kira’s mother, and Justin came up with the idea for the 5K in March after Stone had set a goal for herself to walk in a 5K as part of her recovery from medical problems. Justin questioned how late into the summer area 5Ks would be going on, as she walked slowly at the time and hadn’t yet been able to finish a milelong walk.

“So I said, ”˜Then I’ll have my own 5K,’” Stone said. “And he said we should do it for adoption and that’s how this all got started.”

The group has gotten approval from Dubois County, the City of Jasper and Kimball International to use their roads for the event.

“I didn’t know it was going to be this big,” Justin said. “It’s a little overwhelming. It’s a small family trying to organize a huge thing and we’ve never done a 5K before. It’s come together very fast.”

The Pattons say they know how hard adoption can be. The agency they are using, Children of All Nations in Texas, has had to change its partner orphanage in Uganda twice and adjust to new laws in the country that have delayed the process.

“It’s very frustrating,” Stone said. “We were at Christmas and the kids are getting gifts and I was thinking that we have two grandkids somewhere in Uganda who may not have even been fed that day.”

The Pattons have been offered two American children, but their hearts are set on Uganda. The couple attends the Christian Church of Jasper and believes whatever happens is part of a bigger plan God has created for them.

“It doesn’t all make sense to us sometimes, but we’ve gotten this time to spend with Cale that we didn’t think we were going to have,” Kira said. “It will work out because it’s been promised.”

Kira’s sister, Cody Morrison of Princeton, aunt and uncle Becky and Lee Blesch of Holland, and father, Rick Stone, also have been helping with the 5K in the effort to raise awareness of the trials of adoption. They hope other families who have gone or are going through the adoption process will join Forever Families.

“It’s a mission of love,” Bonnie Stone said.

Forever 5K

The Forever 5K Run/Walk, hosted by Forever Families, will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Jasper Youth Sports Complex, 1401 12th Ave. Registration is from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m.

The cost to enter the race is $25 and participants will receive a T-shirt. Teams of five or more will pay $20 per person. T-shirts also can be purchased separately for $10.

Checks made out to Forever Families should be mailed to P.O. Box 352, Jasper IN 47547. Participants also may pay online through PayPal by contacting the group through its webpage at http://forever5kforeverfami.wix.com/forever5k.

To volunteer or donate, call Kira Patton at 639-0387 or Bonnie Stone at 678-2938.

Contact The Herald at news@dcherald.com.




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