Adoption Conference Allows Iowans to Share Their Stories

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  November marks National Adoption Month, and people from across the state are coming together to share their stories of adoption.

The Hope Adoption Conference brought together people who are in all phases of the adoption process, from parents looking to adopt to organizations that provide support.

Thomas Cackler and his wife attended the event. They adopted their son George from South Korea three and a half years ago. Cackler spoke on a panel sharing his story of international adoption.

"There are kids that need people to love them and care for them, and to me there is nothing greater we can do than to do that," he said.

Cackler says parenting both his biological and adoptive son have been the most rewarding thing in his and his wife's life.  He says, "adoption can be hard. It can be messy sometimes, but hey, so Is having a biological child. Being a parent is messy and hard. But there is nothing more rewarding."

More than a dozen adoption services and organizations were stationed at the event. The non-profit organization Four Oaks supports families going though the adoption and foster care process. Adoption specialist Michelle Johnson says it's her goal to help change the stigma about adopting foster children in hopes of finding them a loving home.

"I think people are scared because they hear the kids are troubled or have really horrible backgrounds and things. Its not true, everyone has some type of past."