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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended November 24, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 24Nov00

By Kent Larsen

LDS Families Adopt Teens, Give Thanks

DENVER, COLORADO -- Preteens and Teenagers are the hardest to place in adoptive homes, but two LDS families stepped in to adopt a brother and sister from a troubled neighbor family when they saw the need. Marlene Peterson saw that two former neighbor children, Don and Anna, were increasingly the victims of their mother's alcoholism, and decided to act.

The two teenagers, Don is 14 and Anna, 13, had been friends of the Peterson children when they lived in Littleton, Colorado. After the Peterson's moved to Highlands Ranch, Marlene kept track of the two children. When Arapahoe County Human Services stepped in to take the teens, she called her Relief Society President, Tracy Barrand, asking "Do you know anyone who could take two kids?"

The Barrands, who have five biological children, had long felt like their family wasn't complete, and decided to take the teens themselves. "I believe people are happier when they serve other people," said Tracy Barrand, "We believe you should create a loving home for as many as you can."

At first, having both kids at the Barrand home seemed to work, but eventually having three teens basically the same age, their son Austin is also 14, proved too much. "Me and Anna kind of parented each other," says Don. "And we didn't stop when we moved here. We fought a lot. A whole lot." So the Peterson's decided to take Anna, adding a ninth child and eighth daughter.

Both Anna and her new family knew this would work. "At first, we were worried she'd get lost in such a big family," said Marlene Peterson. "But then, we knew." Anna adds, "I knew I'd be there for good, even though Mom has to remind me sometimes that I'm not going anywhere."

The Barrand's adoption of Don was finalized in July and the adoption of Anna into the Peterson family will be complete in about three weeks. And both families are giving thanks for the changes. "Family is our priority," said Mark Barrand, Don's new father. "Having grown up as an only child, nothing makes me happier than having all of them." "You see children who don't have a home and you ache," said Marlene Peterson. "Family is everything."


Siblings give thanks for new families
Denver CO Post 24Nov00 P2
By Susan Besze Wallace: Denver Post Staff Writer


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