Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
More than 150 children will end their “foster” days during National Adoption Day eventsNovember 07, 2008
Every morning in a house in Pierce County, five children take turns tearing a link from a paper chain to mark the fact that they are another day closer to officially becoming a family. The foster children will be adopted by their great aunt on National Adoption Day, which is being celebrated by Washington courts on November 14.
The media and public are welcome to attend the events.
“It’s a day the kids and I have been waiting three years for,” said Linda Robinson, who will officially become the children’s mother at Pierce County Juvenile Court during the nationwide celebration. “The kids are more excited than if it was Christmas or school holidays. It’s our most special day, the day a judge will officially and legally declare us a family.”
In Snohomish County, 7-year-old Alanna is waiting for the same thing — to end her time as a foster child and become the daughter of Luis and Alisa Garcia. In Cowlitz County, former foster children being adopted during the National Adoption Day celebration will get to step up on stage and describe what it means to them to officially join a “forever” family. In Yakima, a former foster child who was adopted in 2006 has written a story about his experiences to share at the county’s celebration.
These children join more than 150 others across the state who will be adopted or celebrate adoption during National Adoption Day events in local courts. Most events are scheduled for Nov. 14, however due to scheduling, several celebrations are scheduled on other days (see attached list). National Adoption Day was founded in 2000 by a coalition of national child welfare organizations hoping to raise awareness of the thousands of foster children available for adoption and awaiting permanent, “forever” families.
In Washington, more than 10,100 children live in foster care and more than 2,000 are available for adoption. Nationwide, more than 129,000 foster children await adoption.
Taking part in this year’s National Adoption Day celebration are courts in the following counties: Benton/Franklin; Chelan/Douglas; Clark; Cowlitz; Island; King; Kitsap; Mason; Pierce; Skagit; Snohomish; Spokane; Thurston, Whatcom and Yakima.
“Foster children tell us over and over again that they want to wake up each day as part of a family, knowing they are safe, loved and cared for,” said Cheryl Stephani, Children’s Administration assistant secretary within the state Department of Social and Health Services. “When reunification with birth parents isn’t possible, adoption becomes an avenue to the kind of family and safe home all children need. We are pleased to work together with the courts and be part of such a happy moment in the lives of these children and their adoptive parents.”
Since 2000, more than 9,300 children have been adopted from foster care in Washington. In fiscal year 2008 (July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008), 1,176 foster children found new permanent families to join, including 166 who were adopted during National Adoption Day events in the courts in November, 2007.
“I have presided over many adoptions and they never cease to be a time of great joy, an absolute privilege to be part of as a judge,” said King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum, chairman of the Washington State National Adoption Day Steering Committee, who was himself adopted. Many of the judges taking part in the celebration have adopted children or have personal experience with adoption.
The celebration in Washington is sponsored by the Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care, with support from the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Department of Social and Health Services’ Children’s Administration, the Superior Court Judges’ Association and Northwest Adoption Exchange. Since the statewide event’s first year in 2005, more than 350 foster children have been adopted during the celebrations.
The Washington Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care was established in 2005 to study and improve court processes for foster children, with a goal of reducing their time in foster care. It brings together top officials from the courts, Children’s Administration, child welfare agencies, schools and foster parent groups as well as state legislators and more.
CONTACT: King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum, Chairman of the state’s National Adoption Day Steering Committee, (206) 296-9295; Pam Kramer, Adoption Program Manager for DSHS Children’s Administration, (360) 902-7968; Lorrie Thompson, Communications Officer, Administrative Office of the Courts, (360) 705-5347; Deborah Schow, Public Information Officer, DSHS, (360) 902-7891.
National Adoption Day
November 14, 2008
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