Ten children will be adopted into seven families Friday as part of Hamilton County Job and Family Services’ 11th annual mass adoption ceremony to celebrate National Adoption Month.
The ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. in Judge Ralph Winkler’s Hamilton County Probate Court. While adoption finalizations are normally confidential, the families have agreed to publicize the Nov. 17 ceremony to help promote adoption. The ceremony will be open to the media and will be live-streamed at HCKids.org/AdoptionDay
This will be the agency’s 11th annual mass adoption ceremony, always timed to occur in November during in National Adoption Awareness Month. This year’s ceremony includes children ranging in age from 1 to 16. The children, all victims of abuse and neglect, will join new families in an emotional ceremony and celebrate afterwards with their caseworkers, court-appointed advocates, extended families and other people special to their lives.
“These are children who have had difficult lives, but Friday marks the start of a wonderful new journey,” said Moira Weir, director of the county’s Job and Family Services department. “While they will have loved and known their adoptive parents for some time, Friday is the day it becomes official.
“It is difficult making it through these emotional events with dry eyes. These children are so happy to finally have a permanent, loving home; it is very emotional and inspiring to be present. It means a lot to the caseworkers and others who have supported them, too. We deal with a lot of heartache and despair through the year, and this is a time when we get to put that aside and celebrate the power of family.”
Here are the stories of the other families adopting Friday:
- Amanda Cress, a kindergarten teacher and single mom, is adopting three girls – August, Autumn and Aubrey. The girls, ages 9, 8 and 6, fulfill her life-long wish of becoming a mom.
- Memphis, 2, is being adopted by his biological mom’s cousin, Mary Barnett. He has been with her since he was a month old. This is a great example of how important kinship relationships are to many of the county’s abused and neglected children.
- Tamika, 2, who was two months premature, is being adopted by Christopher and Kathryn Fields. They adopted a 2-year-old once before, and their daughter is now 15 and happy to accept Tamika into their lives.
- Jennifer Stone is adopting her niece, Indonesia, who is 16. Jennifer looks forward to raising “Indo” as a strong woman and to teaching her about being grateful and giving back. This adoption shows that no child is too old for adoption – check out many of the teens who are looking for “forever” homes at www.hckids.org.
- Liam was just six months old when he was placed with his foster parents, James and Kelly Sheldon. He’s a happy, social 15 month old now who will become a permanent member of their family.
- Mario, 12, and Manuel, 3, are being adopted by Aimee Neville. Mario is on the honor roll and the goal keeper for his soccer team. Manuel is doing well in preschool and loves playing basketball. Amy works at an accounting firm and has two other children, but still finds time to coach the kids’ soccer teams.
- Skye, 8, loves to read and does well in school. She is being adopted by her foster parents, Charlene and Kenneth Jamison. She has lived with them for more than two years.
Hamilton County investigates more than 6,000 reports of child abuse and neglect each year. When intensive services fail and a child can no longer remain safe in a parent’s care and an available relative cannot be found, the county will seek custody of the child. If continued attempts at reunification fail, that child will become available for adoption and the county will attempt to find a safe and loving adoptive home.
The agency currently has about 400 children available for adoption, the highest number in years. The Nov. 4 ceremony stands as a symbol for all of the adoptions the agency does – 105 so far in 2017 (113 in 2016).
“Staff work very hard to match a child with a family that will embrace them,” Weir said. “When we get it right, it is amazing to see and experience.”
The 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.
But they all have one thing in common: the desire for a loving family and sense of permanency.
Any Ohio resident over 18 years old is eligible. Adoptive parents must:
• Pass a physical to show they are in good physical health and capable of caring for children.
• Pass a local, state and federal (if not a resident of Ohio for the past five years) background check.
• Pass a home study process (includes fire inspection as well as other rules and regulations).
• Pass more than 30 hours of specialized training.
Those interested in adopting or becoming foster parents can learn more at HCkids.org, or by calling (513) 632-6366 or e-mailing email@example.com.