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Couple honored for efforts with foster, adopted kids

October 02, 2009

WASHINGTON -- A Martinsburg, W.Va., couple was honored this week by Sen. Jay Rockefeller at the Angels in Adoption gala in the nation's capital.

Dawn and David Heatwole were honored and recognized by Rockefeller, a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, for their efforts to improve the lives of foster and adopted children.

Over the past five years, the Heatwoles have adopted or fostered nine children. Currently, they have five children -- including two sibling groups. The children are April, age 12; Pasha, 10; Adam, 5; Ethan, 5; and Asa, 3.

"The Heatwoles are an absolutely extraordinary example of selflessness, dedication and love," Rockefeller said in a news release. "They have opened their home and their hearts and are making a difference every day in the lives of these children.

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"David and Dawn are a testament to wonderful men and women across the state and nation involved in foster care and adoption services," Rockefeller said.

"It was my honor to nominate them for this award. The Heatwoles are heroes to these amazing children, to their community, and to the great state of West Virginia," he said.

Since its inception in 2001, Rockefeller has been a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and has worked in a bipartisan manner to expand and support adoptive and foster parents.

Over the years, progress has been made, and since the 1997 Adoption and Safe Family Act, adoptions from foster care have doubled. But with more than 100,000 children still in foster care and waiting to be adopted, Rockefeller believes there is more to do. 

Angels in Adoption is the signature program of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, which provides an opportunity for members of Congress to honor the good work of constituents who have enriched the lives of foster and adopted children.

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