seen: The Adoption Exchange Fantasy Ball.
The good news is that efforts by The Adoption Exchange have enabled 243 youngsters so far this year to leave the foster care system and find their forever homes. The bad news is that 500 more are waiting. But thanks to events like the Fantasy Ball, word is spread, funds are raised, and the success stories increase.
Since its founding in 1983 by Dixie van de Flier Davis, The Adoption Exchange, which is based in Aurora, has facilitated the placement of 8,422 youngsters and has expanded its reach to include Nevada, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah.
Organized by a host committee chaired by Amy and Carol Bayer, the 29th Fantasy Ball brought 400 people to the Seawell Grand Ballroom for an evening of auction bidding, fine dining and dancing to the music of the Wash Park Band.
Net income is still being tallied, but the special appeal alone brought in $201,711, an impressive increase over the $150,000 goal. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne was among the guests, and reminded those not familiar with the adoption process that one does not have to be married to become eligible to adopt and that financial aid and other support is available. Brad McNealy, chairman of The Adoption Exchange board, led a salute to Janet Perlstein, the organization’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year. A partner at the Fox Rothchild law firm, Perlstein donates her services as general counsel for The Adoption Exchange. Executive director Lauren Arnold introduced Amanda and David Purvis, who were featured in a video that traced their family’s decision to adopt three youngsters, including a set of siblings. Others supporting the cause were former board chairs Pam Kiker and Ray Nutt; honorary board member Larry DiPasquale, whose Epicurean Catering provided the Asian-themed dinner; Ed and Kacy Adams; Rick and Shelly Sapkin; Samantha Morris; CBS4 news director Tim Wieland; Todd and Lisa Hendreks (she works for Regal Entertainment Group, a longtime sponsor of the Fantasy Ball); Sue and Dr. Tom Larkin; CBS4 morning anchor Britt Moreno, who served as mistress of ceremonies; auctioneers Shelly St. John and Libby Pollack; and BJ Dyer, whose Bouquets furnished the evening’s decor.
Dominic Halvell, Ashley Nutt, Carol McNealy and Brad McNealy.
April Gomez, left, with Chad and Joy Rathbun.
From left, Karyn Ross, Mark Kulczak and Kacy Adams, a member of the host committee.
Executive director Lauren Arnold, left, and Melody Roe, senior vice president of programs.
Bert van de Flier and his wife, Dixie van de Flier Davis, the founder of The Adoption Exchange.
The Rev. Dr. Larry Brown, a member of The Adoption Exchange board, and his wife, Valrie.