NORWICH – On Monday, November 20, 12 local children were adopted and joined their families at an adoption ceremony held at the Chenango County Courthouse.
Chenango County Judge Frank B. Revoir, Jr., presided over the Adoption Day event, that brought together the children, their families along with local attorneys, service providers, and community members to celebrate the adoptions of the local youth.
“We are immensely grateful to the families in our community who have taken the challenging role of fostering children, opening their homes, lives and families to area children in need,” said Revoir.
Adoptions within Chenango County are presided over by the Surrogate Court. Serving as both the Surrogate Court and Family Court Judge, Judge Revoir has grown to know the children and their foster families throughout the duration of their time in the foster care system.
The children who participated in the event had been in foster care for an average of 44 months., Chenango County Attorney for Child Lisa Natoli, represents children on a full-time basis.
She said, while 44 months seems like a very long time to remain in foster care, “Our laws have established that we (the Court, Attorneys and Department of Social Services) must work collaboratively to support the successful reunification of children with their biological parents for approximately the ﬁrst two years of child’s placement in foster care.”
When those eﬀorts are not successful, the eﬀorts of the various professionals involved shifts toward ﬁnding an alternative permanent resource for the children.
“Children typically want to be reuniﬁed with their biological parents at ﬁrst, but there occasionally comes a time that a determination must be made that the best, and more importantly safest, future for the children is with another family,” said Natoli.
Ranging in ages from four to fourteen, each child has had a significant say in their foster care and adoption journey.
Having represented all the children that were adopted on November 20th, Natoli shared her joy in watching the children join their forever families. “I have grown to know each of these twelve children and their families over the past four and ﬁve years. We have cried together, we have fought together, and now we get to share great joy together.”
The foster families that participated in the Adoption Day event are all registered foster families with the Chenango County Department of Social Services.
Daniel Auwarter, Commissioner of Chenango County DSS, said, “Adoption, at the very heart of the concept, is the act of creating permanency and belonging where it was absent. It is an event where the chance for stability outshines the threat of uncertainly in a child’s life. The adoption of a child is inherently complex and emotional, and includes loss as well as comfort, uncertainty as well as hopefulness, shared by both child and adoptive family. It can be a difficult and delicate process, and without the compassion, care and support of the foster families that make permanence a reality, many children might never ﬁnd the belonging they deserve.”
November is recognized as NaRonal Adoption Awareness Month. This campaign, coupled with the celebration of NaRonal Adoption Day, seeks to increase awareness of adoption issues and bring heightened aTenRon to the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system. Unfortunately, many children who have been placed in the foster care system due to neglect and abuse too often wait to achieve permanency in their lives and are at risk of foregoing life-long familial relationships.
A child in the child welfare and/or foster care system often lacks a family identity. Through community and agency partnerships, foster families are there for children in times of great crisis. As children remain in foster care and are unable to be safely reunited with their own families, foster parents step in to meet all of the ongoing needs of the children. Recent studies and statistics show that there are in excess of 115,000 children waiting to be adopted in the foster care system nationwide. The average time in foster care for a child waiting to be adopted
is nearly three years.
“We strived to make our Adoption Day ceremony a festive experience for all that were involved,”
said Judge Revoir. “While our greatest focus is on celebrating the children, we cannot ignore the sacrifices and service of our foster families. We also wanted to recognize the significant professional and emoRonal commitment by our court staﬀ, attorneys, and agency partners. We have each grown to know and care about these children over their time in foster care and we are grateful that we could come together to celebrate this adoption event.” The children were able to ring a ceremonial Adoption Day bell recognizing their formal adoption and each child received gift's from the Court, their attorney and the Department of Social Services.
“Much of what we confront in the family court system on a day-to-day basis is laden with seriousness and solemnity,” said Judge Revoir. “We are grateful to have these moments to truly celebrate our local children and their future lives, and we wanted to give them that moment of joy.”
“Our community remains in significant need of foster families, as the number of children entering foster care continues to rise,” says Auwarter. As our community has faced many crises similar to those found both state and nationwide, our local children remain in need of supportive resources. If you would like to learn more about becoming a foster parent, please contact Destiny Foster (607) 337-1586, Erica Jones (607) 337-1561, or Brandi Guinn at (607)
337-1564 at Chenango County DSS. A new class for foster parents will begin in the new year.
– Information from the Chenango County Children’s Law Office