Franklin County joins Nationwide National Adoption Day celebrations on November 10

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

The wait to become part of permanent, loving families will end for 21 Columbus children on November 10 as Franklin County celebrates National Adoption Day.

Franklin County Probate Judge Lawrence Belskis and his staff of magistrates will finalize and celebrate the adoptions of 21 children from foster care Monday, November 10. Among the children ranging

in age up to 17, are five sibling groups and two teenagers who will become permanent, legal members of 12 adoptive families. In addition, two of the adoptive parents to be are single mothers. All five

attorneys volunteering time in the finalizations of these adoptions are adoptive parents. The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. at the Franklin County Courthouse.

"The Court is pleased to once again welcome all of the volunteer lawyers, foster care professionals and child advocates who will participate in the finalization of some 20 adoptions on National Adoption

Day 2008," said Judge Belskis. "National Adoption Day gives the Court the opportunity to focus community attention on these wonderful families and on the many children who remain in foster care

waiting for loving, permanent homes."

The Columbus event is part of a collective national effort to raise awareness of the 129,000 children in the United States in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. For the last 8 years,

National Adoption Day has made the dreams of thousands of children come true by working with courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize

adoptions and find loving homes for children in foster care. Since 2000, more than 21,000 children have joined forever families during National Adoption Day courtroom celebrations.

Rita Soronen, executive director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a leader of the national collaborative and said, "This marks the ninth year for National Adoption Day and the Columbus

event showcases the joy and the diversity of both adoptive parents and children who come together to form loving families. Celebrations like the one in Columbus and the hundreds all across the country will encourage more people to learn about the issue and perhaps adopt children from foster care. We honor all families who open up their homes and hearts to children in foster care who are in search of a permanent place to call home-on National Adoption Day and every day."

"The vision for our agency is safety, permanency and well-being for every child," said Eric D. Fenner, executive director of Franklin County Children Services. "We believe that National Adoption Day is

a tangible example of that vision. Thanks to 12 wonderful adoptive families, 21 children will experience the life-giving and life-altering event called adoption on this day. We are grateful to our partners in

this effort, the court and the generous Columbus community for their support of permanence for every child," Fenner said.

The National Center for Adoption Law and Policy once again joined with Franklin County Children Services in recruiting and coordinating training for volunteer attorneys to represent the families in the

adoption proceedings. Attorneys from Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company will be volunteering their legal expertise to assist families in all the necessary documentation to finalize the adoptions. The

Nationwide pro bono attorneys and paralegals have been working with the foster care families for more than three months to prepare for the National Adoption Day event. This year, all five attorneys

are adoptive parents.

"As in years past, the Center was very pleased to coordinate the recruitment and training of the volunteer attorneys who will represent families finalizing their adoptions on National Adoption Day," said

Denise St. Clair, executive director of the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy. "These legal professionals not only provide their expertise on one of the most important days in the lives of these

families, but also help to highlight the need for more adoptive homes for kids in foster care."

The average time a child remains in foster care is now nearly 4 years and the average age of a child waiting to be adopted is 9 years old. More than 26,000 children in foster care "age out" of the

system each year at age 18 without ever being placed with a permanent family.

National foster care adoption misperceptions:

A national survey commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and released in November 2007 by Harris Interactive reveals that the majority of those considering adoption are

considering foster care adoption. In fact, 48 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care, yet the majority has misperceptions about the process and the children who are eligible for

adoption. These misperceptions:

* 67 percent of people considering foster care adoption are unnecessarily concerned that biological parents can return to claim the children. Once the court finalizes the legal termination of parental

rights, the parents can never return to claim the child.

* 46 percent mistakenly believe foster care adoption is prohibitively expensive, when in reality there is very little cost to adopt from foster care and financial support is available for all adoptions.

* 45 percent believe children in foster care have entered the system because of juvenile delinquency, when in reality, the vast majority entered the system through no fault of their own, as victims of

neglect, abandonment and/or abuse.

* 48 percent believe a single parent raising an adopted child can definitely provide a healthy and loving environment. However, 32 percent of children adopted from foster care in 2005 were adopted by

single parents or unmarried couples.

* 37 percent believe a person over 55 can definitely provide a healthy and loving environment for a child, when in reality 23 percent of adopted children live with an adoptive parent 55 years or older.

Additional Adoption Facts:

  • Franklin County Children Services has 200 children who are permanently committed to the agency for adoption. These children are going through various stages for adoption placement. The goal is to assure that each child is placed with a loving adoptive family. Children available for adoption are African American children over the age of 5, sibling groups, teens, Caucasian children over the age of 10 and children with special needs (some physical and behavioral challenges), but the one thing they all have in common is the need for a permanent home and a family to call their own.
  • Nearly 60 percent of all Americans have had a personal experience with adoption, whether it is a family member or close friend adopting a child, themselves adopting a child or relinquishing a child for adoption.
  • Since its inception in 2000, National Adoption Day has grown from events in eight jurisdictions to now include events in all 50 states throughout the country, with more than 21,000 adoptions being finalized since its inception.
  • Adopting children from foster care is virtually free. In addition, a growing number of employers offer adoption assistance as part of their employee benefit packages, including financial reimbursement and paid adoption leave, and Congress has made federal tax credits available for foster care adoptions to help offset required fees, court costs, legal and travel expenses.

Event Location:

Franklin County Probate Court

373 S. High Street, 22nd Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

Columbus Adoption Day partners:

_ Franklin County Probate Court

_ Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

_ National Center for Adoption Law & Policy

_ Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation

_ Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company

_ Vorys, Sater, Seymour, & Pease

For more information on adopting children from foster care locally, call Franklin County Children Services at 614.341.6060 or visit the website at

For more information on National Adoption Day, visit

For more information on the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy, go to