This is the day of our mass adoption ceremony in Hamilton County’s Probate Court. Judge James Cissell will preside and six families will adopt 10 children who have been in our care for some time and cannot be safely reunited with their biological families.
We plan on livestreaming the event, if you would like to watch. Look for details on our website later this month.
As agency director, there are a few events a year that I really look forward to. One is our Celebration of Dreams event in June, where we celebrate all of our foster children who overcame tremendous obstacles to graduate high school. Another is Wear Blue Day, a day in April where it seems like the whole community wears blue to bring attention to child abuse.
But perhaps my favorite day of all is our mass adoption ceremony, where several families agree to open up their adoption proceedings to the public and we all watch families come together forever. We usually hold it every November on the Friday before National Adoption Day.
We help nearly 17,000 children a year. There isn’t a sad story I haven’t seen or heard. Sad isn’t enough of a descriptor. Heartbreaking is more accurate.
But the mass adoption ceremony is a time of joy. Foster children become adopted children. Relationships become legally permanent. Families grow.
I will see plenty of smiles. Some of the children are sheepish going before a judge. But when he pounds that gavel and declares them part of a permanent family, the grins stretch ear to ear.
I will see tears, too. Some parents and children are so caught up in the emotion of the event that they weep with joy. Even some of the tough guys in the courtroom gallery mist up over the occasion.
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.
Here are six families where we got it right:
- Two sisters, 5 and 4, will be adopted by their long-time foster parents, who have had them in care since they were each a few months old. Both girls have blossomed and fit right in with the family’s two older daughters. The family has maintained relationships with those raising the girls’ older biological brother and sister, helping maintain family ties.
- A 1-year-old boy will be adopted by the foster mother who took him in shortly after he was born. The foster mother has four older adopted children and this happy, smiling boy has fit right in.
- A 7-year-old girl will be adopted by the foster family who took her in two years ago. She has three teenage siblings to teach her the ways of life.
- A 1-year-old girl who was welcomed into her foster family’s home at three days old will become a permanent member of their family. It is a good thing, because she already is the center of attention.
- Four siblings will be adopted by the foster parents who have cared for them since March 2011. The 8-year-old boy and his sisters, ages 7, 6 and 5, are a close sibling group who are ecstatic to remain together with foster parents they have come to love.
- A 3-year-old girl will be adopted by a family that already has an 11-year-old daughter to teach her the ropes. She is part of a family where a cousin is also adopted, so the whole extended family is embracing these children as their own.
Maybe next year, you will be one of the family members participating in adoption day? We have nearly 200 children awaiting adoption. You can see their stories and watch their videos on our website, www.hckids.org.
I would love to see you participating next November!