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