Voice for Adoption, a national adoption advocacy nonprofit group, has selected retired Partner J. Eugene Balloun for its 2019 Breaking Barriers Adoption Award. The award recognizes Balloun’s efforts in overcoming barriers to adoption including age, geographic location and special needs of children from foster care. VFA estimates there are 123,000 children in foster care needing forever homes.
VFA will recognize Balloun and other winners at the 15th Annual Adoptive Family Portrait Project Display and National Adoption Month Briefing in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2019.
“I am moved and honored to have been selected for this award,” said Balloun, who has helped more than 1,500 foster children find permanent homes. “There is no greater reward than the love of a child with a forever family.”
Balloun says these accomplishments could not have happened without the unwavering support of his law firm, Shook, Hardy & Bacon. In 2018, the scholarship fund hit a milestone with pro bono adoptions. The Kansas Foster and Adoptive Children Scholarship Fund reached $1 million in scholarships awarded to foster children since the program began in 2001. The program uses state-paid fees from pro bono adoption cases to fund the program. More than 1,500 Kansas adoption cases have been completed, helping families complete the legal process of finding permanent homes for children.
Balloun, who continues to do pro bono work, started the scholarship program while providing pro bono adoption assistance, together with other Shook attorneys, to families and children. In addition, Balloun and his wife have been foster parents to 29 children, and adopted a son and a daughter who were in foster care.
“There is great reward in witnessing a young person excel in life. I want to thank my firm and fellow attorneys who provided legal services to make these adoptions and scholarships possible. This award is recognition of a lifelong journey and could not have happened without the help of so many others,” said Balloun.