85 cyclists will travel a total of 433 miles in five days to raise awareness for adoption. After a start in Johnson City on Monday, Oct. 5, at 7 a.m., the tour will stop at the Alcoa Municipal Building, Springbrook Corporate Center, for a celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 5.
More than 400 children in Tennessee are in state custody right now, waiting to be adopted; more than half of those are teenagers. The 85 riders each have a connected to adoption in some way and are traveling 433.7 miles across the state of Tennessee over a five-day period to raise awareness of adoption. In its 5th year, the Adoption Tour is a collaboration of adoption organizations, including The Department of Children Services, Harmony Adoptions, Youth Villages and others.
Other celebrations will be held in Cleveland, Chattanooga and Columbia to honor adoptive families, pledge their support to those who have adopted and commit themselves to helping those children who still need a permanent home.
“That’s the theme for this year’s tour - A Journey Home,” says tour director, Jesse O’Hatnick, who rode in 2007. “These riders know first-hand what adoption truly means and they’re looking for a way to show their commitment and share their stories.”
As much as the ride is about the children awaiting their “forever families” and the awareness of adoption in general, the Adoption Tour promotes cooperation between the multiple agencies who work to find homes for displaced children in Tennessee year round. There are 18 riders from the Department of Children Services and 27 from the various adoption providers. Pam Wolf, the CEO of Harmony Adoptions says, “Anyone who is considering adoption should know about the incredible resources that are available to them. It’s not something you will have to do alone - support is available to Tennessee families after the adoption is finalized.”
“We have more riders than ever before, and a completely new route. I think all of this will make for the best Adoption Tour yet,” says O’Hatnick. “What we need now is the public to know about us and the sacrifice these riders are making in the name of adoption.” For more information on the Adoption Tour, go to www.adoptiontour.org or follow the riders on Twitter @adoptiontour.