This year, 18 children had their adoptions finalized in Prince William County. Six of those children were officially adopted on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at the 10th Annual National Adoption Day celebration at the Prince William County Courthouse.
Judge Richard B. Potter, of the 31st Judicial District Circuit Court, presided and said his days in court aren’t as good as the days he presides over adoption ceremonies. “I sit and hear cases in this courtroom that are not as happy as this. This is the fun part. I enjoy this day because it gives me the opportunity to say to the children who are involved here today that all of us believe, as far as your future is concerned, that there is absolutely nothing you cannot achieve in the future. The sky is the limit for all of you. ”
Tammy Morton finalized the adoption of her 6-year-old son, Navarro Hill Morton, on Saturday. “It’s exciting, especially for kids who are lacking a place to stay. We want to raise them in an environment where they can be successful.”
Morton’s daughter, Destinae Virgil, also said she was happy to have a new brother. “I like it because he has a new family to be with.”
A room full of social workers, adoptive families and their guests identified with Coles District Supervisor Martin E. Nohe when he spoke about adoption. Nohe, who is an adoptive parent with his wife Kris, talked about how they came to foster a couple of children and how they ultimately adopted them nine years ago. He said he and his wife, who later had another two children, no longer think of the children they first fostered as adopted.
“I see all of the smiles and your story is the same as mine,” Nohe said live to one packed courtroom. Another courtroom full of people watched the ceremony on closed-circuit television. “We don’t have biological children or adopted children. We have children.”
Diane Gestrich, a Prince William County Family Services Worker, said holding the event was significant for several reasons. “Prince William County National Adoption Day is a celebration of families who have been joined for permanency. They are families who may have been finalized throughout the year, and they are families who actually finalize on adoption day. The event is important because, number one, it brings exposure to the importance of adoption. It provides children with forever homes, permanent families, and it just raises awareness that we have children who are in need of safe, stable and loving homes.”
Grace Badie, 10, was one of the children who saw her adoption finalized Saturday with her parents, John and Linda Badie. “It means a lot to me that I’ve been adopted, and I’m really grateful.”
“I’m very happy. We’ve been a family from the beginning, and it’s a grace-full day for us,” John Badie said.
Jo Anne Schmidt finalized the adoption of her young daughter during the ceremony. “It’s a great day, especially for me. I’m a first-time mom. It’s what I’ve always wished for.”
In the last 10 years, there have been 73 children adopted in Prince William County, making this year’s number a record for any single year, Gestrich said. Today there are 115 children in foster care in Prince William County with four that may be adopted. “Children come into the foster system through no fault of their own, and for whatever reason, their families can’t maintain them safely in their home. These children, like any other children, deserve to be in a safe, loving home.”
For more information about adoption and foster care, call 703-792-7500 or visit www.pwcgov.org/fostercare.