New York Daily News
Sept. 27, 1999
Adoptions Attract Park festival showcase called 'pool of love'

Six year ago, Isabella Rossellini adopted a baby boy. Yesterday, the actress added a touch of glamour and poignancy to the city's annual adoption fair in Central Park. "Adoption is like falling into a pool of love," said Rossellini, a single parent, also the mother of a 16-year-old girl.

"When I was young, I always knew I wanted to be a biological mother and an adoptive mother," she said. "When you adopt, you reach out and bring a lot of joy, warmth and love."

On a sparkling early Autumn afternoon, the fair brought together thousands of would-be parents with the photographic images and stories of foster children ready for adoption.

Hosted by Mayor Giuliani, Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta of the Administration for Children's Services and Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, it also featured more than 45 adoption agency booths.

Rossellini recounted her own journey to becoming an adoptive parent.

"A big question was, 'Would I love an adopted child, who doesn't carry my genes, as my own child?'" she said. "Adoption is magical because it does make you feel genetically connected to the child."

Dorothy Barrett, 56, of Brooklyn, who has been a foster mother to 60 children and currently has three foster children living with her, said she is looking to adopt.

"I want a baby, and if not a baby, a child about 9 or 10 years old," Barrett said while looking over the photos of 1,000 foster kids.

Michelle Moore, 32, of Manhattan, has three adopted children, ages 2, 4 and 5. She spoke to officials from the Abbott House, a residential treatment center in Irvington, N.Y., about adopting again.

"I'm looking to adopt more because it's a good experience," Moore said. "I feel like I make a difference."

Moore filled out her name and address, but it was only the beginning of a long process. After the foster home and ACS do a home study and approve the parent or parents, it still takes up to a year to adopt.

New Jersey Nets basketball player Jayson Williams adopted a niece and nephew after his two sisters died of AIDS when he was 18 and playing for Queens' St. John's University.

"One of the greatest feats I ever accomplished wasn't making the All-Star team ... but every morning waking up at 5 and taking my niece to school in Jamaica, Queens," Williams said.

He said he and his fiancee want to adopt in addition to having their own children.

Anyone seeking to adopt a city child can call (212) 676-WISH.

- Susan Forrest

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