seen: The Adop­tion Ex­change Fan­tasy Ball.

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Joanne David­son Joanne David­son: 303-809-134, par­ti­writer@hot­mail.com and @joanne­david­son on Twit­ter

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.

Pho­tos by Joanne David­son, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

Do­minic Halvell, Ash­ley Nutt, Carol McNealy and Brad McNealy.

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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.

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