Ten children will join seven permanent families Friday in a mass adoption ceremony scheduled to celebrate National Adoption Month in Hamilton County.
Friday's ceremony at Hamilton County Probate Court, is being live-streamed over the Internet at www.hcjfs.org.
The county's Job and Family Services Department is teaming with the county's Probate Court to organize the mass ceremony. The children, all victims of abuse and neglect, will join new families in a touching ceremony and celebrate afterwards with their caseworkers, court-appointed advocates, extended families, and other people special to their lives.
While adoption finalizations are normally confidential, the seven families have agreed to publicize the ceremony.
"This is always one of the highlights of our year and it gives us a chance to celebrate several happy endings," said Moira Weir, director of the Job and Family Services department. "We have a tremendous number of situations that turn out positive for children. These families have agreed to share their stories with us in an emotional, touching ceremony that will be an uplifting moment for our staff and for the people of this community."
One interesting thing about the adoptions is that 9 of the 10 children are being adopted by their foster families. Weir said approximately 70 percent of the county's adoptions are situations where the children started out as foster children and, when parental ties were severed because they could not be safely reunited with their biological families, the foster families decided to adopt.
Hamilton County investigates more than 6,000 reports of child abuse and neglect a 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 and attempt to find a safe and loving adoptive home.
The agency currently has about 190 children available for adoption, the lowest number in years.
Included in this year's ceremony:
- A 13-year-old boy who came to his foster family after a series of tragedies. Cody's mother died and, after the youngster went to live with his grandfather, his grandfather passed away, too. He then lived with an uncle who suffered medical issues that prohibited from caring for Cody. The optimistic boy is very glad to be part of his new family.
- 14-year-old twin boys with distinct personalities. Maxwell does well in school and likes math and science. Zachary is creative and imaginative. Both boys like video and computer games and both are helpful when it comes to yard work.
- Three children being adopted by one foster family. Chloe, 2 and Ethan, 1, are biological siblings. They have been living with big foster sister Jamila, 14, for two years. Their foster parents, the Thomas family, have decided to adopt all three.
- A 2-year-old boy who is a baseball player in the making. Elijah never passes up a chance to take some practice swings around the house.
- A 7-year-old boy, Adam, who is just now coming into his own, learning to high five, give hugs and kisses and even swim! He can say a few words and is picking up sign language.
- An 8-year-old, Elijah, who loves family vacations and being involved in community activities.
- An 8-month-old, Jonathon, who is being adopted by the same family that adopted his older brother.
Any Ohio resident over 18 years old is eligible to become an adoptive parent. Adoptive parents must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- 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