Panel discussion on adoption wraps up "One Town, One Title" series

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Morgan Hansen, Van Horn Public Library’s lead librarian, right, welcomes participating panel members and the audience to the “One Town, One Title” panel discussion “Adoption Now.” Seated from the left are Matt McKay of the Family Service of Rochester, Richard Hacker of Olmsted County Child and Family Services, Lisa Levi of Pine Island, and Kenyon Police Chief Lee Sjolander.

PINE ISLAND – Van Horn Public Library and Pine Area People for the Arts (PAPA) wrapped up the 2014 “One Town, One Title” series with a panel discussion on February 27. Titled “Adoption Now,”  this discussion on the current state of adoption and foster care in Minnesota took place at the United Methodist Fellowship Hall in Pine Island. The panel included Richard Hacker of Olmsted County Child and Family Services, Lisa Levi of Pine Island, Matt McKay of the Family Service of Rochester, and Kenyon Police Chief Lee Sjolander.

A combination of perspectives and experiences made for a lively back-and-forth between the panelists and between the panel and those in attendance. Sjolander has been fostering children in his home for many years, but he himself came from a troubled home environment and at the age of thirteen placed himself and his two younger siblings into the foster care system. Levi and her family have been fostering children for many years and a little over a year ago adopted three siblings ages one through four. Hacker has worked for Olmsted County for 25 years and has spent the last ten as a supervisor in foster care and adoptions. McKay was adopted from Korea when he was five years old, has worked with Family Service for 13 years and recently adopted a daughter from Korea. 

The audience embraced the chance to discuss these topics after reading about the Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children. This orphanage, located in Owatonna, was in operation from 1886 through 1945. The circumstances in this year’s “One Town, One Title” book, “Patty’s Journey,” were very like several of the stories of current day children who find themselves in foster care. The foster care/adoption system, however, has changed very much from the days of large, formal institutions like Owatonna’s and, according to the panelists, will continue to evolve as time goes on.

For further information on other upcoming events or if you are interested in becoming more involved with next year’s “One Town, One Title” program contact Van Horn Public Library at 507-356-8558 or pipl@selco.info.

 

 

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