There may be another opportunity or two for story telling, but today is better than any other. This Rotary year is long from over but this is a good day to begin the end (for me, that is). 
Adoption Awareness began in November of 1998.  It just happened to catch the eye (and heart) of many in Rotary starting with PDG Tom Moore from McAllen.  This should be made very clear; Tom's interest is why the program became one of international interest. 
The beginning was in San Benito, then on to McAllen, then on, and on, and on . . .   I am certain that I am repeating myself, but there are probably as many new readers today as has been over these many years.  It actually may help to remind all of us about who we are and can be.
How this developed is most interesting and needs a reminder.  This is about "Who."  As I said Tom liked it.  Then another door opened with the area Zone meeting taking place in Houston.  The Ladies luncheon speaker opted out at the last minute.  In steps Tom. 
Tom passes the thought to PDG Billy Settles who suggests it to the Zone committee.  I know they would have been open to anyone or anything to fill this disastrous opening in the events schedule.  I wrote up a presentation, no telling how many in D5930 reviewed it.  Nor was there a measurement for the panic level on the D5930 leadership.  Billy Settles was assigned the task to groom me for this once in a lifetime opportunity.  It was then that I became surrounded by a lot of special people.  Richard Hoffman, chairman of the board for Texas Dept. of  Protective Services put this project n he next State of Texas meeting for TDPRS.  Almost instantly I was flown to Maryland, to Miami, to Seattle, to San Diego, and a whole lot of places in  between.  Wow! 
Nine years passes and it was time to review the project with the State.  This meeting led to a discovery that the project violated State of Texas law.  (No child in the custody of the State is allowed to be openly exposed to the general public.)  The law was changed to allow Rotary and has now led to allow any organization with the okay of Child Protective Services can do what we have been doing.  At first only Rotary was allowed this privilege.  Now as all can see, no one can have gatherings of any kind.  All is on hold. 
I know what I have just written is a repeat of many other opportunities to write in this newsletter.  If you made it this far, I can only say thank you.  BUT I think I have a point. 
Please understand that this, as in any project in Rotary, may start with one Rotarian but it requires our entire family to carry any one thing out.  I was surrounded by Rotarians that also believed this was good.  It is that and only that which led to the success level where it is. 
Without International involved there is little any one person or club can do. 
This will be my last year to be actively involved.  I will help as long as I am allowed.  New leadership is being sought for our district.  How it goes from here is up to she or he who picks it up. 
To say "Thank You" to the all of Rotary in and out of D5930 just can't be enough.  You all have made me proud of being a Rotarian.  As I mentioned, this is hopefully a reminder of who we are and can be.  Try not to dismiss an idea by talking yourself out of it.  Be assured that it could be the next best one yet. 
Again, "Thank You" for making me look good.  There are hundreds of children that now have a permanent, loving family because of you.  
Goodbye and God Bless. 
Lionel Betancourt