Charles County cel­e­brates adop­tive fam­i­lies dur­ing Adop­tion Month

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

Fam­i­lies come in so many dif­fer­ent forms with many par­ents choos- ing to adopt chil­dren to com­plete their fam­i­lies. As Charles County cel­e­brates Adop­tion Month, the Charles County Department of So­cial Ser­vices rec­og­nized the many pre-adop­tive and adop­tive par­ents and their new fam­i­lies at the Charles County Court- house on Thurs­day.

The department of so­cial ser­vices, the Charles County Board of Com­mis- sion­ers and lo­cal sup­port- ers gath­ered to cel­e­brate the men and women of Charles County who have opened their hearts and homes to adopt a child in need of a per­ma­nent lov­ing fam­ily. The cel­e­bra­tion ac­knowl­edged all fam­i­lies who have adopt- ed from Nov. 1, 2015, to Oct. 31 of this year and an- nounced Ter­ence and Er- ika Gib­son as the Charles County Adop­tive Par­ents of the Year.

“These chil­dren are their har­vests,” said Therese Wolfe, di­rec­tor of the county’s department of so­cial ser­vices. “I’ve watched a lot of adop­tions and a lot of chil­dren go home to their par­ents. I look for­ward to watch­ing these chil­dren grow with their new fam­i­lies and see them at an­other adop­tion event years from now celebrating the next group of chil­dren.”

“I think it’s a ba­sic need and de­sire to be­long,” said Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy (D). “Ev­ery­body wants to be­long and for those of you who have made that de­ci­sion to bring a child into your life, so that they can know what it feels like to be­long some­place with some­body, is some­thing that is so in­cred­i­bly ad­mirable. From the stand­point of Charles County it’s what makes us the won­der­ful county we are. Fam­i­lies are the back­bone of who we are. For those who have made that com­mit­ment from their heart, we are grate­ful for that.”

Com­mis­sioner Amanda

Ste­wart (D) also took the time to con­grat­u­late the adop­tive par­ents on their new­est fam­ily mem­bers. She said she is re­ally proud of the fam­i­lies that opened their homes to the chil­dren who need it. Ste­wart also thanked the staff at the department of so­cial ser­vices for all of its hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.

“It does take a vil­lage to raise chil­dren and to make our community great,” Ste­wart said.

Sev­eral of the fam­i­lies were present to ac­cept a cer­tifi­cate of recog­ni­tion for be­com­ing adop­tive par­ents within the last year.

Wal­dorf res­i­dents Doug and Tammy Hands adopted Mia, a 1-year-old, on May 19. Tammy had three older daugh­ters be­fore mar­ry­ing Doug, and when the cou­ple found out they could not con­ceive more chil­dren, they con­sid­ered adop­tion.

“We came into this just to foster chil­dren but it was a plus to add Mia to our fam­ily,” Tammy Hands said. “Mia was our fourth place­ment. The oth­ers were re­uni- fied with their fam­i­lies but we were able to adopt Mia. She def­i­nitely is a su­per­hero in her own right. When we first got Mia, she was very much be­hind. She had a lot of sen­sory is­sues. She’s had oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy for the last 18-19 months and she’s fi­nally caught up. Just see­ing her ac­com- plish the things that come nat­u­ral to other chil­dren, be­ing able to see that is just that much more spe­cial to us.”

Tammy said the so­cial ser­vices di­rec­tor is en­forc­ing some very pos­i­tive changes to the department, but hopes that the department will con­sider hav­ing coun­sel- ing or ther­apy ses­sions for foster par­ents who be­come at­tached to the chil­dren that later re­unite with their orig­i­nal fami- lies. She said coun­sel­ing would help ease the tran­si­tion for foster par­ents.

Wal­dorf res­i­dents Sadiqq and Tashia Ab­dul­lah of­fi­cially adopted Noelle, 8, on Sept. 9. They have been li­censed foster par­ents for the county since April 2015 and said adop­tion is some­thing that God has al­ways put in their hearts to do.

“Even be­fore we had chil­dren, my hus­band and I talked about adopt- ing so it’s al­ways been in the fab­ric in our mar- riage,” Tashia said. “No one asked to be an or­phan. This is not some­thing that most adop­tive par­ents want a pat on the back for do­ing. We don’t do it for that rea­son. Who doesn’t just want a fam­ily that loves them un­con­di­tion­ally all the time. We go through ups and downs, but it’s so worth it in the end when you real- ize this child has a for­ever fam­ily.”

They have four bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren along with Noelle.

Wal­dorf res­i­dents Car­leton and Tyvese Chase said their son, 1-year-old Noah, is such a mir­a­cle and feel he is the one that should be rec­og­nized for all of the ex­cite­ment that he has wel­comed into their lives. The Chase fam­ily fos­tered Noah as of March 2016 af­ter find­ing out that they were un­able to con­ceive five months into their mar­riage. They of­fi­cially adopted him this month, and since then Noah has been keep­ing them on their toes.

“From the first time we saw Noah, my hus­band knew he was sup­posed to be with us,” Tyvese said. “He’s so funny and such a sweet­heart. Ev­ery­where we go peo­ple tell me he is so cute. He has such a big per­son­alty and catches onto ev­ery­thing quickly. In the morn­ings he wakes up just smil­ing and it makes my day. We love kids so much and couldn’t imag­ine our life with­out chil­dren.”

Many of the par­ents agreed that the adop­tion route is a good op­por­tu­nity to help a child, and they en­joyed see­ing the new, beau­ti­ful fam­i­lies of cou­ples who they saw in their adop­tion classes through­out the year.

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy and Com­mis­sioner Amanda Ste­wart help cel­e­brate many of the new adop­tive fam­i­lies in Charles County Thurs­day at the Charles County Court­house.

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

Charles County cel­e­brated adop­tive fam­i­lies at the Charles County Court­house on Nov. 17.

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