Weekly Columns

I am grateful for my family. I was fortunate to grow up in a warm, loving family and as a father of three daughters there is nothing more rewarding than being called ‘Dad’. Now I even have the good fortune of being called ‘Grandpa.’ I understand how important it is to have family to count on. I believe that all children deserve to know this throughout their entire lives. Fortunately, Arkansas is blessed to have outstanding advocates who help children learn the importance of family values in permanent loving homes, through adoption. 

Each year, I recognize Arkansans who open their hearts and make a difference in the lives of children in need of a forever family. This year that honor goes to Springdale’s Creekside Center for Women. Doctors Michael Clouatre, Greg Reiter, Kent Mason, Darrin Cunningham, Jason Hurt, and Ashley Mason, make up this group of compassionate, faith-based physicians who advocate the benefits of adoption to women with unplanned pregnancies. 

Dr. Clouatre and his wife, Patsy, have a history of involvement with adoption. They adopted one of their four children 19 years ago.  After arriving in Arkansas, they quickly became involved with Bethany Christian Services where Dr. Clouatre served on the Board. His family also served as a foster family for children during the adoption process. Dr. Clouatre is currently the medical director for Loving Choices, a pregnancy crisis center, whose function is to offer alternatives to abortion. 

As advocates for adoption, the doctors at Creekside aim to promote a positive outcome for both mother and child. 

We are fortunate to have this team of physicians in Arkansas, and I am pleased to honor them as a 2014 Angel in Adoption for their contributions in adoption advocacy. I cannot thank these doctors enough for the role they play in our community. As part of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute which coordinates the Angels in Adoption program, we celebrate outstanding individuals for their dedication and commitment to providing children with the protection, permanency, safety and love of a family. 

Since 1999, the Angels in Adoption program has honored more than 2,000 groups and families for their outstanding support of adoption and the foster care system. Creekside Center for Women will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. later this month. 

Every child deserves the love and support of a family and I believe that we must work diligently to make that a reality. Families across Arkansas are committed to sharing their love with children who need parents and as a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I’m committed to creating an environment that encourages adoption and ensures that parents receive guidance, support and an efficient and secure adoption process. 

I’m encouraged by the efforts of Arkansans to raise awareness, support and promote adoption in our state, as well as those who work to ensure that all children grow up in safe, healthy and loving homes.