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February 2008Vol. 9, No. 12007 Adoption Excellence Awards

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services honored 15 individuals and organizations with Adoption Excellence Awards in eight different categories recognizing the recipients' contributions to providing stable, permanent homes for our Nation's children in foster care. The awards affirmed the Department's national commitment to rebuilding the lives of the nearly 513,000 children in foster care and achieving permanency for the 114,000 of those who are waiting for adoption.

The Adoption Excellence Awards were presented at a ceremony on December 12, 2007, during a luncheon at the Children's Bureau's "Fresh Perspectives on Child Welfare Partnerships" conference. This year, awardees were honored in the following categories: increased adoptions of older children, faith-based initiatives, support for adoptive families, individual or family contributions, child welfare system improvement, philanthropy/business contributions, media/public awareness of adoptions from foster care, and decrease in the length of time that children in foster care wait for adoption.

The sole award in the category of family contributions was presented to Clem and Bettie BellStewart, who are adoptive parents from Virginia. The BellStewarts have a special interest in adopting children with special needs and have created an atmosphere of love and acceptance by providing exceptional care to their six adopted children, ages 1 to 17, all of whom were previously in foster care. Mr. and Mrs. BellStewart, along with all of their children, were at the awards ceremony and acknowledged for their remarkable successes.

A complete list of the 2007 award recipients from the awards ceremony are available on the Children's Bureau website: