It took a little effort, but 4-year-old Elias signed his own name on his adoption papers. During the short and cheerful proceeding, the judge defined adoption as a choice to be a family, a lifelong agreement to treat them as your own natural-born child. Finding the adoption to be in Elias’ best interest, the court declared him and his grandmother, Kimberly McCloskey, as a parent and child under the law.
“Today is a great day,” McCloskey said.
Court is not usually a place for young children, let alone a courthouse full of them. But on Saturday, November 4th, 29 families finalized adoptions of 34 children at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relation Courthouse. Volunteers—including nonprofits and government agencies, judges and court staff—made the day fun, colorful and memorable for children and their new official families with balloons, sweets, toys and books, a police car and firetruck.
“Every child deserves a family and Adoption Day celebrates the families that have opened their home to foster children and the children that have finally found their forever family,” Brandy Tuzon Boyd, Public Information & Communication Officer with the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, said in a press release before the event. “It is hoped that the new families can see that the whole community applauds and supports their new lives together.”
Family, foster care and adoption
The adoption process started for McCloskey a year ago when her daughter wasn’t able to care for Elias and he ended up in foster care. Wanting to provide a stable home and keep him with their family, she stepped up and asked to adopt her grandson, who she describes as smart and loving.
“I just wanted him to stay in the family, I wasn’t sure if [his foster family] was going to allow for me to continue to see him, and I didn’t want him out of my life,” she says. “I came forward and said that I wanted to adopt him.”
While McCloskey admits that it can be tough dealing with and advocating for yourself in the court system, she did get support from social workers who helped guide her through the process, which included becoming a certified foster parent, home interviews, fingerprinting and foster parenting classes.
“The goal of permanency is to provide a child the opportunity to develop secure attachments which can promote more positive educational and social outcomes, … and promote a child’s optimal physical and emotional growth and health overall,” says Melissa Lloyd, Sacramento County’s Deputy Director of Child Protective Services. “All children deserve to have a family and strong connections for life.”
Supporting children and families
While National Adoption Day is officially November 18, Sacramento County celebrated Adoption Day early so new families can enjoy their first official November holidays together. Several community organizations also took part to make the day special, including:
- Sacramento Fire Department
- Sacramento County Library
- Sacramento Sheriff Department Youth Services
- Department of Child and Family Adult Services
- Court Appointed Special Advocates of Sacramento
- Wayfinders Family Services
- Zeta Phi Beta sorority
“Adoption Day brings national attention to the significant number of children and youth who remain in foster care awaiting their forever home,” Sacramento Superior Court’s Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Dena Coggins said in a statement. “Our last National Adoption Day event occurred in 2019, and was extremely successful. … We are excited to bring this wonderful event back to Sacramento County.”
For more information on foster care and adoption in Sacramento County, contact the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services at dcfas.saccounty.gov or call 916-875-5543 for information on becoming a resource family. For more information on National Adoption Day, visit https://www.nationaladoptionday.org/.