Thursday's Child
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The Pingleton Family

Steve and Shelia Pingleton were married in 2003.  They each brought children into the marriage and thus began their blended family.  The couple are parents to many biological children including Landon Pingleton (32), Leann Taylor (28), Brittany Pingleton (26), Brandy Pingleton Robinson (26) and Crystal Taylor (21).  They live on a 40 acre farm in Garrard County, which has been in Steve’s family for generations.  They currently raise cattle, hay, produce, pumpkins, flowers and children.  Steve is officially retired from EKU where he supervised all of the grounds for the University.  Since retirement he has also held several part time jobs (in addition to farming), which include driving a bus for the local school district.  Shelia has retired previously and then returned to driving a school bus for the local school district.  She drives the school bus route where their farm is located and many of the children on her bus are her own children and grandchildren.  Several of their adult children live on the family farm, or near the farm, and several of their adult children have also served as foster parents and are following in the family tradition of adopting from the state foster care system.

Steve and Shelia felt called to help children and began serving as foster parents with the Department for Community Based Services in 2005.  They have served as foster parents for approximately 24 children.  At this time they have adopted 8 children and are currently fostering a baby (that they hope to adopt).  Their adopted children are Alexis (20), Amanda (20), Shataria (15), Daisy (9),  Makaylah (9), Laylah  (8), Dillon (7) and Trinity (6).  The family is active in their local church and participate in numerous community events such as a wide variety of sports.  Many of the children play on softball and baseball leagues and the family often travels to sporting events with their children, including trips to Lexington to see the Lexington Legends.  They also participate in numerous local festivals, where they often set up booths to sell the produce from their family farm.  The children run and play on the farm, and also have chores such as helping to sell their produce during community events in Berea Kentucky. They have an in-ground swimming pool on their farm, which is the site of numerous family and community celebrations.  As you can see, Steve and Shelia have a heart for children and find joy in serving others within their family and community.  We are pleased to share their story as part of our Thursday’s Child Tropical Night With the Stars for 2019.   



  Whalen Family
John and Gerry Whalen Family
John and Gerry Whalen consider it an honor and privilege to be associated with Thursday's Child, Inc. They appreciate the support and assistance available and understand the importance of supporting adoptive families. They were fortunate to be able to adopt near the beginning of the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP). They say their lives have been amazing journeys, exciting adventures. In 1978, they became foster parents. They had no parenting knowledge or experience when the mother of two boys in their small community died in an auto accident. The boys were only four and six years old. They needed a home so they moved into the Whalen residence. Two years later, a son was born. March 1982 was a wonderful month with the adoption of their foster sons and the birth of their first daughter. Another son was born in 1983 and three more daughters were born in 1990, 1993, and 1997. In addition to these eight children, over seventy foster children have become a part of the Whalen family. John and Gerry have completed the requirements to be foster parents every year since 1977 and their home remains open today for foster placements.
Tammy and Jonathan Jones
Tammy Jones Family After 15 years of marriage, we were encouraged by Jonathan's sister, Joyce, to look into foster care and adoption. Joyce had been a foster/adoptive parent for over 25 years, and we had always said we could never do it. We could never love those kids and then let them go.
We decided to call just to check it out, and found out that classes were starting the very next week. Was this meant to be? We went to the informational meeting, and decided that maybe we could do it. We signed up for classes, still unsure if this was for us.

We completed the training, and got our first placement in September 2010. Over the next 6 years, we had a total of 9 children. Six of them came and went, and yes…it was hard, but we knew that we made a difference in each child's life during the time that we had them. Whether it was for a few days, or a few months, we provided love and stability when they needed it the most.

Three of the children that were placed with us became ours forever. Nathaniel, now 10, came to us at 3 years old, and was adopted in August 2012. He is kind-hearted and very athletic, a star on his basketball and flag football teams, and the fastest kid in his grade. Audreana is 5 now, and we brought her home from the hospital at 3 days old. She was adopted in June 2013. Ahhh, what to say about Audreana? She is beautiful, determined, and bossy - definitely our little diva. Christian has also been with us since he was 3 days old. He is now 4, and was adopted in September 2016. Christian is a helper at heart. He has a solution for everything and will always chime in with his advice, whether you want it or not. Our forever family is complete.

So many people tell us that these kids are lucky to have us, but no…we are lucky to have them.

Kristina Harrison
Hello. My name is Kristina Harrison.
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky 27 years ago.  Upon my delivery, the medical doctors quickly realized something was very wrong.  I was not breathing and did not have a normal appearance. The doctors had to act fast to save my life.  They were unsure of what they were working with and did not believe I had a chance of survival.  My biological parents were told I would not make it and my life expectancy would be very short…days short. Having heard this, my parents

Kristina
 
were understandably devastated.They loved me and knew they could not bear to stick around to watch their newborn daughter die.  My parents decided to relinquish their parental rights and walk away.  This single act let me know their love for me.  They knew they could not watch me die and, if I lived, they could not care for my enormous medical needs.
 

One of the doctors who worked on my case knew of a lady in Mount Vernon, Kentucky who took care of kids diagnosed with a terminal condition.  He called her and set up a time to come see me the following day.  This lady, Judy Harrison, drove three hours to meet me.  As she walked into my hospital room, she saw a little black girl with big brown eyes.  As I saw this white woman looking at me in awe, our eyes locked.  From that moment we were to be inseparable.  Three weeks later Judy took me home as her daughter.  My medical care was meticulous and stressful but she never gave up and knew I was strong enough to overcome the negative prognosis I had been given.

I have endured 32 surgeries, countless trips to the doctors, days on end in the hospital and chronic pain.  I have overcome all those challenges and surpassed the terminal prognosis I was given 27 years ago.  I am now a pediatric Registered Nurse.  I work at Hospice of the Bluegrass with children who have been given a terminal diagnosis. I hope and pray my young patients can teach their doctors that even with a terminal diagnosis they are strong and can endure more than most adults could ever imagine.  Unfortunately, these patients of mine will pass away most of the time.  Still I hope and pray, while these little angels are here on earth, they teach the medical staff and society that children are surprisingly resilient and define the meaning of hope.

John and Donna Baileyao Donna and John Bailey
Donna and John Bailey became foster parents with the Cabinet on January 5, 2009. Prior to becoming foster parents with our agency, they were serving as foster parents with a private agency. They became adoptive parents with the Cabinet on June 5, 2008 when they started the process of adopting twin boys, Jeremy and Jacob, which had been in their foster home since January 2006. That was just the
beginning of adoptions for this couple. After the adoption of Jacob and Jeremy, the couple took in a 16 year old, Tim, for adoption. He was 17 years old when the adoption was finalized. The couple continued to provide foster care to children who included a sibling group of three and another girl that her pre-adoptive placement disrupted. Needless to say, they adopted all four of these children as well. They went from have four adult children to seven school aged children. Donna and John are now the proud parents of seven teenagers which includes Tim—age 19, Jessica—age 16, Cheyann—age 14, twins Jeremy and Jacob—age 13, Little Jacob-age 13, and Hannah—age 12.

Donna and John Bailey provide unconditional love to each of their seven children, as well as their four adult children. They are constant advocates for the children and provide a loving and nurturing home for them. The couple also gives back to the community by advocating for others to become foster/adoptive parents, they are mentors to newly approved foster/adoptive parents, and they advocate for birth parents and provide support to them when appropriate. The Bailey's are truly an amazing family and anyone who has to pleasure to spend time with them will know their dedication and love they have for others and the children that have become a permanent part of their family.

 

  We are Family Video So Inspiring!
The Ridge Family Cameo
We Are Family
The Ridge Family Cameo
We Are Family
https://vimeo.com/157317203
 
Outakes: 
https://vimeo.com/181664288

Ken and Loralee Ridge

s"From early on in their family's journey, Ken and Loralee knew they wanted more than the typical 2.5 children found in the average American family. They never imagined, however, that the magic number would be nine. Their foster and adoption story began after their two birth children were school-aged. Over the years, they have fostered over 30 children and adopted seven. Although the Ridges have been united from various backgrounds and situations, they have grown to understand that family--above all--is a choice of the heart."

Ridge Family
  Ridge Family
Sturgeon Family
Ed, Virginia and Rick Sturgeon

Adoption always was a part of my life. My parents had thought they could not have birth children and had started the process to adopt twin girls when I came along. I always wondered what happened to those girls. My husband was the oldest of 8 and had his fill of small children. I was never a "baby" person so we decided not to have children. That is until Rick came along! As one of the founding Special Needs Adoption Program workers I had children assigned to me to recruit their adoptive family. Rick was one of my "children". He was 14 when I met him and I knew he was "my child". I just didn't know how to tell Ed, my husband, so I recruited for Rick and found a single adoptive father for him in Georgia. I sent him to visit, after the man had visited here. After I put Rick on the plane I cried all the way home. A few days later the adoptive father called and said it was not going to work out. Rick came back to Kentucky, on my birthday, an omen I know.

To be more concise Rick came back from Georgia in August. I managed for Ed to meet him and after a time Ed said to me "I think we need to adopt Rick don't we?" I was thrilled. We completed the preparation and home study and Rick joined our family five days before his 16th birthday in 1982. As all families we have had joys and challenges; all bringing growth to our family. Sadly Ed passed away in 2016 following a heart attack. Rick and his family have been my rock. For someone who had decided not to have children Rick is the most wonderful son one could have and I am so glad we decided to adopt.

Maggard Family The Lemond Family
Ryan and Amanda Lemond are the proud parents of 3 adoptive sons. Gavin is 19 and the oldest. Gavin was adopted thru a private adoption agency in Louisville, Adoptions of Kentucky, when he was only 6 months old. Gavin just graduated from Lafayette HS and will soon begin classes to be an EMT. Over the summer, Gavin has connected with his birth parents and discovered he had a half-sister living in Cincinnati.

Michael is 15 and will be a freshman at Frederick Douglass HS. Michael's birth mother was in foster care, so he was born into the Foster Care system in Lexington. Michael lived in four foster homes thru the age of 3 before meeting the Lemond's at a charity softball game for CASA. After the game, Amanda mentioned to their social worker that they would open their home to "the little boy at the softball game". A few short weeks after the softball game, Michael moved into the Lemond's house as a "foster to adopt". He was adopted thru the help of CASA.

Josiah is 10 and will be a 5th grader at Sandersville Elementary. Josiah spent time in 7 different foster homes in Lexington thru the age of 3 before meeting he Lemond's at Cardinal Run Park during a baseball game. At that game, Amanda started playing with Josiah, and even introduced Josiah to Ryan as, "Meet your new son!". A few short weeks after meeting at the ballpark, Josiah moved into the Lemond's house as a "foster to adopt".

The Lemond's love to travel, and are all actively involved in sports. And according to Ryan and Amanda, "all 3 boys are extremely spoiled!!!!"
Maggard Family


Fredie and Jen Maggard

Answered prayers. I was on a mission trip to eastern Kentucky when Jen called to tell me that we had been "matched". I immediately fell to my knees to thank the Lord for the incredible, pending blessing for our family.

Jen and I drove to western Kentucky for the delivery. I was nervous. Jen was a rock as usual. Ellie was born. Clai was going to have a baby sister. Grandad, Nana, Gramps, and Grammie would meet their newest grandchild. God was praised. We fell in love with her immediately, along with her birth mother. We stayed in the hospital for a couple days before embarking on the most uneasy drive of my life; a four-hour journey with our daughter. She slept.


Ellie is now seven. She was instrumental in her influence for creating a new state law. A few years back Governor Beshear signed the "Ellie Bill" at the Frankfort VFW. This legislation marked the first time in the Commonwealth's history that Kentucky National Guard families were eligible for an adoption stipend. She was paying it forward before entering kindergarten.

Ellie is a blessing. Mom is her soccer coach. She's a picturesque, inquisitive delight. She has her daddy wrapped, she knows this. Adoption is beautiful.

 

 

 

 

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