Thirteen children to unite with “forever families” at Friday mass adoption ceremony

Thirteen children will be adopted into nine families Friday, Nov. 2, as part of Hamilton County Job and Family Services’ 12th 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. 2 ceremony to help promote adoption. The ceremony will be open to the media and will be live-streamed over the Internet for all to see. Here is the link to watch the livestream: Also, visit for more information on the families!

This will be the agency’s 12th 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 not-quite 1 to 17. The foster children, who have all experienced childhood 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.

“This is a new beginning, the official start to their life with their new family,” 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, this is the day they sign the papers to make it permanent. It will be an emotional experience for everyone in the room.

“The difficult pasts they have experienced aren’t forgotten, but the focus is on the future. It is something special when we are able to match the right child with the right family – something worth celebrating. Our agency caseworkers see a lot of sad stories throughout the year; I am thankful we have opportunities like this to see and celebrate the positive side of our work.”

Here are the stories of the families adopting Friday:

  • Dakari, nearly 1 year old, who went straight from the hospital to loving foster parents, Tracy and Christopher Kopulos, are the only parents he knows and they are happy to make the relationship permanent.
  • Nevaeh, 3, and Harden, 1, are not biological siblings, but they have become siblings in their foster home. Scott and Elizabeth Lammers took both of these children with special needs into their home, where they have thrived, and are excited about a permanent future with the children.
  • Jamari, 6, Terry, 4 and Numya, 3, are biological siblings who will stay together because Kathryn Leveridge Fitzpatrick wants to make sure of it. The foster mother is eager to make their life together official and permanent.
  • Anthony, 8, is being adopted by his maternal uncle, Boris Landesman, after the tragic domestic violence-related murder of his mother. This sad story gets a new, happy chapter on Friday.
  • Three years ago, Alexis, 17, wasn’t sure she deserved a family. Then she met Melinda Insley. Insley welcomed Alexis into her home and they built a relationship that grows stronger every day. Friday, they officially become mom and daughter.
  • Aliya, 11 and Leasia, 12, have been with their foster parents, Robert Crawford and Dianna Kasper-Crawford, for nearly two years. The Crawfords, who have raised children who are now adults, felt their homes were empty without children. Aliya and Leasia have breathed new life into the home and they are eager for their family to become official.
  • Kyle, 2, was born with spina bifida. His foster parents, Nathan and Leah Nickell, learned how to care for his special needs and fell in love with him.
  • Reese, 11, moved from foster care to a kinship placement with her paternal uncle, Rob Wombles and his wife, Shandra, nearly a year ago. Her cousins, Aundrea, 12 and Cameron, 9, will now be her siblings. She in Aundrea are in the same grade, share a room and play sports together. They try make sure to include Cameron!
  • Cassandra, 15, has been in a foster home with Michelle Weathers for three years. She gets a huge smile on her face at the thought of becoming Michelle’s daughter and can’t wait until Friday.

Hamilton County investigated more than 9,000 reports of child abuse and neglect last year and worked with more than 20,000 abused and neglected children. 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 – 139 so far in 2018 (141 in all of 2017).

“This is always a highlight of the year – staff get to see their hard work pay off when a child finds their forever family,” Weir said.

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 or by calling (513) 632-6366 or e-mailing

by Jane Prendergast

Filed Under: Children's Services

Tagged: adoption, child abuse, Children's Services, foster care, hamilton county department of job and family services, hamilton county job and family services, judge winkler, livestrea, mass adoption ceremony, moira weir, ralph winkler, ted winkler