Na­tional Adop­tion Day cel­e­brated

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

NORRISTOWN » Hon­or­ing Mont­gomery County fam­i­lies who have opened their “hearts and homes” to chil­dren, county of­fi­cials cel­e­brated Na­tional Adop­tion Day.

The highlight of the cel­e­bra­tion on Nov. 1 came when county judges Lois E. Mur­phy and Cheryl L. Austin ap­proved and fi­nal­ized the adop­tion of eight chil­dren in six fam­i­lies.

“These chil­dren and their fam­i­lies have been on a jour­ney, a jour­ney that has in­volved foster care and the ju­ve­nile divi­sion of this court, a jour­ney that has in­volved a lot of play­ers…,” said Mur­phy, ad­min­is­tra­tive judge of the Or­phans’ Court. “We’re here to honor you and to cel­e­brate this happy and joy­ous con­clu­sion.”

“Today is the end of one chap­ter… Go forth and make that next chap­ter one of the best,” Austin ad­dressed the par­ents and those sup­port­ing them.

The county com­mis­sion­ers pre­sented a procla­ma­tion ear­mark­ing November as Na­tional Adop­tion Aware­ness Month in the county.

“Today is a cel­e­bra­tion hon­or­ing all the fam­i­lies who have opened their hearts and homes to these eight chil­dren be­ing adopted. In Mont­gomery County, we rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing chil­dren in foster care with per­ma­nent, safe and lov­ing fam­i­lies through the com­mit­ment that is adop­tion,” said county Com­mis­sioner Va­lerie A. Arkoosh.

As some of the chil­dren in the packed court­room squealed with de­light dur­ing the cer­e­mony, Arkoosh joked, “some are cer­tainly more ex­cited than oth­ers,” elic­it­ing laugh­ter from spec­ta­tors.

“You can feel the hap­pi­ness and warmth in this room. It may be a lit­tle cold and over­cast out­side on Nov. 1 but you can feel a lot of love in this room,” Com­mis­sioner Ken­neth E. Lawrence Jr. ad­dressed the 175 peo­ple who packed the court­room for the cel­e­bra­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion­ers, in 2016, Austin and Mur­phy fi­nal­ized 48 adop­tions.

“The fam­ily unit plays a most crit­i­cal role in a suc­cess­ful so­ci­ety,” added Com­mis­sioner Joseph C. Gale. “Days like this are times to cel­e­brate.”

Lau­rie O’Con­nor, di­rec­tor of the county’s Of­fice of Chil­dren and Youth, thanked the foster and adop­tive fam­i­lies in the county for all they do to help chil­dren.

“It’s a uniquely defin­ing mo­ment. It’s like a hap­pily ever af­ter for those fam­i­lies who are here today. The im­por­tance of hav­ing a per­ma­nent fam­ily re­ally can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated,” O’Con­nor said.

One adop­tive fa­ther told the crowd “the jour­ney doesn’t end here,” and urged peo­ple to be am­bas­sadors for foster par­ent­ing by pro­mot­ing it.

“There are so many other chil­dren and teenagers out there who can ben­e­fit from a house like yours,” the fa­ther said.

The Mont­gomery County Court House Choir sang “Day of Joy and Cel­e­bra­tion” to close out the cer­e­mony.

Arkoosh said a need still ex­ists for fam­i­lies who want to make the com­mit­ment of adop­tion and the com­mis­sion­ers urged ev­ery­one to “spread the word.”

“This is an ef­fort that truly takes a vil­lage,” Arkoosh said.

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