Hoeven Honors Minot Couple for Adoption Work

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today recognized Kevin and Paula Burckhard of Minot to honor their outstanding commitment to adoption. Hoeven selected the Burckhards to receive the national Angels in Adoption award after considering a pool of inspiring candidates, and the Burckhards traveled to Washington this week to attend a ceremony in recognition of this year’s Angels in Adoption awardees.  

“Kevin and Paula Burckhard exemplify the positive impact individuals can have on the lives of North Dakota foster children,” said Hoeven. “The Burckhard family has opened their hearts and homes to three adopted children with Down syndrome in addition to their three biological children. It is an honor to nominate Kevin and Paula as Angels in Adoption, and I hope their work will inspire others and increase awareness about the importance of adoption and foster care.”

Kevin and Paula had two biological children when their third child, Grace, was born with Down syndrome. Kevin and Paula have always loved children, and when they realized that they had room in their family for more they began to pursue their dream of adopting a child with special needs. They turned their sights to an orphanage in Ukraine and adopted three and a half year-old Bella, who had been left at the hospital by her birth parents when they learned that she had Down syndrome. With the adoption of two more children with Down syndrome (Nole’ from Serbia two years ago and Simas from Lithuania in May), the Burckhard family is now complete.

Kevin volunteers as a coach, Paula is a teacher and both Burckhard parents volunteer with their church’s Sunday School, youth group and Vacation Bible School.

The Angels in Adoption program is the signature public awareness campaign of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). It provides an opportunity for all Members of Congress to honor the efforts of individuals working in their home states to enrich the lives of foster children and orphans in the United States and abroad.

Hoeven has previously recognized four North Dakotans as Angels in Adoption awardees. In 2011, the senator nominated District Judge Joel D. Medd of Grand Forks for his dedication to positive child welfare practices in his court. Roberta Soper of Devils Lake was selected as the 2012 awardee. Soper has dedicated her professional and personal life to working on behalf of adoptive children and families. Sharon Maier, who worked for North Dakota’s three major licensed child placing agencies for more than 30 years, was nominated in 2013. In 2014, Hoeven nominated Rod and Tracey Belzer, who cared for 132 different children in addition to their five children, two of whom are adopted.