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Foster care opens homes, hearts

May. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

SOUTH POINT, Ohio -- Steve and Leigh Ann Baker went through four miscarriages before they decided that if they wanted to pursue their dreams of having children together, it would have to be through adoption.

Steve Baker, a local contractor and a captain with the South Point Volunteer Fire Department and his wife, Leigh Ann, an independent designer, ended up adopting six children through NECCO, a South Point foster care agency serving residents in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia.

Steve had one child when the couple got married, but they wanted children of their own. When that didn't happen, Leigh Ann talked to a cousin who was a foster parent with NECCO.

"We adopted six," she said. "We have seven children now. We brought several straight home from the hospital. We would have taken more, but we don't have any more room. They've been a blessing in more ways than one."

While they started as foster parents, the Bakers ended up adopting all six foster children.

NECCO has a residential center for about 40 foster children in the Pedro area, but moved its foster care component to Private Drive 19423 off U.S. 52 in the South Point area. The foster children range in age from newborn to 18 years old.

"We recruit, train and certify foster parents," said Greg Thompson, program director at the new office in South Point. "We have a great need for foster parents. We also have a great need for community support. We're a nonprofit."

The company signed up several potential foster parents during an open house at the new office earlier this month. NECCO also has offices in Huntington and Grayson, Ky.

Jay Skeens-Rupert of Jackson, said he and his husband have been looking into becoming foster parents and adoption.

"It's a real good way to help kids out," he said. "We have room in our home and room in our hearts. The foster parent training session is pretty intense. It's 36 hours of training. We go through a background check and a home inspection."