SNOW HILL — The Lower Shore Departments of Social Services last week recognized the 2012 Adoptive Parents of the Year during the 5th Annual Adoption Day Celebration at the Snow Hill Fire Department.
Each year for the last five years, the combined Social Services departments of the three lower shore counties, Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset, recognized sets of parents who have made the ultimate gift of adoption to a child or children without a family. The event is held in conjunction with National Adoption Day, which began in November 2000. The goal of this year’s event was to raise awareness of the 116,000 children in the U.S. in foster care waiting for adoption, according to Jami Truitt of the Wicomico County Department of Social Services.
“Each year, 53,000 children are adopted out of foster care,” she said. “On the lower shore, there were 17 adoptions in 2012 including seven adoptions in Wicomico County, six adoptions in Somerset County and four adoptions in Worcester County.”
Many of the adoptive parents from across the lower shore gathered at the Snow Hill Fire Department last month to honor the Adoptive Parents of the Year from the three counties, including Tina and Keith Hitchens of Worcester County; Craig and Melissa Mast of Wicomico County and Andrea and Adam Filbert of Somerset County.
Tina Hitchens of Worcester County said the decision to adopt a child was an easy one.
“Adoption chose me,” she said. “Adoption is a heartbeat, the heartbeat of a child who has lost what is most significant to every human being in the world, their family. This is a heartbeat that matters.”
The event conducted by the Lower Shore Departments of Social Services included activities for the children at the Snow Hill Christian School, followed by lunch for the families at the Snow Hill Fire Department and the announcement of the 2012 award winners.
For more information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, contact Kelly Bishop at 410-713-3959 to register to attend the upcoming foster care information meeting on Jan. 15 at the Wicomico County Library from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The next nine-week Parents Resource for Information Development and Education (PRIDE) training will be held on Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. at the Somerset County Department of Social Services in Princess Anne.