George and Barbara knew that these children would not have had adequate medical care if left in China. They would have grown up to be totally isolated from society because of their physical challenges.
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Tallahassee, FL (Vocus) April 10, 2009
More than ten years ago, George and Barbara Kadzis contacted Children's Home Society of Florida (CHS) to get some information on adopting a child. Little did they know how dramatically their lives would change as a result of that call.
Originally, George and Barbara considered adopting an infant and contacted CHS as they were familiar with the organization's rich history in finding permanent homes for children. But when they learned about a young Chinese girl with a cleft palate, they were compelled to bring her to America. Barbara, a teacher who was herself adopted, and George, a dentist, continued to work through CHS' International Adoption Program to locate children with special needs, eventually adding a total of six children to their family, five of whom were physically challenged.
"This is such an exceptional family," said Helen Ervin, Adoption Manager for the CHS North Central Division. "George and Barbara knew that these children would not have had adequate medical care if left in China. They would have grown up to be totally isolated from society because of their physical challenges."
ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew learned about the family after their home had been ravaged by hurricanes and George had been diagnosed with brain cancer. This past February, the show's crew arrived at the Kadzis home, where they spent a week rebuilding the house and making modifications to accommodate the challenges of the five physically challenged children.
Sunday evening, millions of viewers will tune into ABC where they will get to know the Kadzis family.
"Tragically, George was admitted to the hospital the evening before the family found out they'd been chosen for the home makeover," noted Ervin. George passed away in March without ever returning to his home.
CHS, which focuses its work on finding parents for children, not children for parents, finalized a record 1,090 adoptions during the 2007/2008 fiscal year of which 1,019 were public adoptions involving children from foster care.
Since Children's Home Society of Florida's founding in 1902, adoption has been a cornerstone of the nationally accredited organization's broad spectrum of services to children, parents and families. To date, more than 35,000 children have found their forever families through CHS.
About Children's Home Society of Florida (http://www.chsfl.org)
Founded in Jacksonville in 1902, Children's Home Society of Florida (CHS) is the third largest private not-for-profit serving children and families in the United States and Canada accredited by the Council on Accreditation. CHS was a founding member of the Child Welfare League of America, and was instrumental in helping to pass Florida's first laws protecting children. Services include foster care, adoption, child abuse prevention, emergency shelters, residential group homes, independent and transitional living for teens, early education and care, parent education, counseling, mentoring, and treatment for developmentally disabled children. CHS, which served more than 86,000 children and families in 2007-2008, is headquartered in Winter Park, Fla., has 14 divisions and employs more than 1,900 staff who are dedicated to providing child-focused, family-centered care.