n and Debbie Maanum have adopted five children over the years. On the swings from left to right, are Leah, 4, William, 6, Destiny, 8, and Michael, 9. Middle is their biological daughter Elsa.fl

Archived Story

Trot to benefit foster children [UPDATED]

Published 2:04pm Monday, November 8, 2010 Updated 6:40am Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dean Maanum grew up in a good family, but he knows not every child has the advantage of growing up in a stable environment.

That’s why he and his wife Deb decided to adopt foster children and provide them with a permanent family.

The Maanums have adopted five children through Permanent Family Resource Center and plan to participate in the agency’s First Annual Turkey Trot 5K and 1 Mile Family Fun Run/Walk on Nov. 20.

“When a child realizes they have their forever family — we’ve watched it over and over with these children — they begin to flourish,” Dean said. “They begin to realize this is forever.”

Their first four children are biological and now adults. Adoption was something they had considered for a while, Dean said, to provide other children with the opportunities that arise from growing up in a stable home.

Working with Permanent Family Resource Center, they took training, established a home study and went through the process to become licensed for foster care.

The agency, which has facilitated 283 adoptions since 2000, selects children it thinks would be a good fit for the family. In the Maanums’ case, they have been matched with five children — Crystal, now 19, Michael, 9, Destiny, 8, William, 6, and Leah, 4.

Crystal was 16 at the time of her adoption. Michael — who was 10 months when the Maanums adopted him — along with Destiny, William and Leah, who were each 2 years old at adoption, will all take part in the 1 Mile Family Fun Run/Walk with Dean and Deb on Nov. 20.

“We love being parents and we believed we could provide a stable home for children,” Dean said. “As our children have grown, we’ve found that the richest relationships we can have in life are with our children.”

He said it has been rewarding watching his children together as they form bonds as brothers and sisters, knowing that those relationships would not exist had he and Deb not adopted them.

The Turkey Trot coincides with National Adoption Day, Permanent Family Resource Center Executive Director Bridget Leonard said. She and others at Permanent Family had been brainstorming ideas, and a 5K seemed to fit because it’s a family-friendly event that involves staying active.

“I hope it raises awareness of the need for families to adopt foster children,” Leonard said. “I want it to be a way to honor families that have adopted and celebrate them, and to generate proceeds for the agency’s work.”

The average age for a child in foster care to be adopted is 8, she said, and children often wait three or more years to be adopted, move three or more times in foster care and are often separated from siblings, she said.

For the Maanums, Dean said adoption may not be a fit for everyone, but he and Deb have never looked back.

“Children are individuals and can bring some challenges, but for us it’s been very rewarding,” he said. “We have not regretted it, not ever.”

The First Annual Turkey Trot 5K and 1 Mile Family Fun Run/Walk takes place on Nov. 20 at Roosevelt Park. The 1 Mile Run/Walk begins at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K begins at 9:30 a.m. The 5K is $25 and the 1 mile is $5, with a maximum of $30 for families, with proceeds benefiting Permanent Family Resource Center, with the mission of moving kids from foster care to adoptive families.

The race will be held snow or shine. Register online at www.active.com or by calling 998-3400. For more information, visit www.permanentfamily.org/turkeytrot.

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