Below is the column I wrote for this month’s issue of Update, our community newsletter. It discusses our upcoming mass adoption ceremony, which is one of the most powerful and emotional days of the year here at JFS.
(You can find the column and much more news about our agency here: https://www.hcjfs.org/UpdateNew2012/November/Cover.htm. Please, if you are interested in our agency and what we do, subscribe.)
It is rare that you can predict a miracle, but I know of several that will take place on Nov. 16.
That is the day we hold our mass adoption ceremony to celebrate National Adoption Month. Several families will welcome our foster children into their homes and lives permanently, forming loving families out of what was a foundation of abuse and neglect.
To me, that is a miracle.
I always circle this day on my calendar. To call it “inspirational” doesn’t do it service. This is life changing for these children.
I watched a 13-year-old boy break down in sobs last year as he tried to articulate what his adoptive family meant to him. The boy’s life had been tragic: his mother had died and, after he went to live with his grandfather, his grandfather passed away, too. He then lived with an uncle who suffered medical issues that prohibited him from caring for the young boy.
Left all alone, he found love with a new family. His sobs told a story I could never tell in this newsletter.
Nov. 16 will be a celebration. Finalizing an adoption is always the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by our staff. Pairing a child with specific needs with a family that can meet those needs is difficult. But when you get it right, the reward is great.
This is our fifth annual mass adoption ceremony at Hamilton County’s Probate Court. Judge James Cissell will preside. Seven families will adopt 13 children. If you would like to watch it live, we will livestream it over U-Stream. Look for details later this month on our website, www.hcjfs.org.
We have nearly 200 children awaiting adoption. You can see their stories and watch their videos on another of our websites, www.hckids.org. Seeing their faces is both sad – a reminder of the more than 5,000 reports of abuse we investigate every month – and inspiring, because they have not been broken and their spirit shines through in their videos.
Each has been the victim of abuse and neglect and, despite great efforts, cannot be reunited with their birth families. Now, we are trying to locate the right “match.” That sometimes takes months or years.
We don’t give up. Even as they turn 18 and become adults. Everyone needs a family throughout life.
One other way we are celebrating National Adoption Month is with a recruitment event where prospective adoptive parents can meet and spend time with some of our children. Later in the month, we will hold a celebration for all families who adopted children throughout the year.
We do what we can to encourage and celebrate the adoption of our children. We have stepped up our efforts in the past few years and received additional help this year from a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids’ grant that allowed us to add recruiters. The Nov. 16th ceremony is but a symbol of our year-round efforts. So far this year, we have had 77 adoptions. We hope to surpass last year’s 112 and 2010’s 105.
Children available for adoption come from a variety of backgrounds, neighborhoods, economic circumstances and living situations. They may have varying levels of medical, emotional or behavioral problems. They all bring their own personalities, strengths, interests and gifts.
What they need most? Love.
Can you answer the call? Do you have what it takes? If so, visit our adoption website, www.hckids.org to learn more and feel free to contact us by phone, (513) 946-1000, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.