105 FAMILIES WILL ADOPT 158 CHILDREN TOMORROW DURING THE COURT’S VIRTUAL NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY CELEBRATION
Virtual News Conference Will Kick-Off Event at 8:15 a.m. Tomorrow
For the second year, National Adoption Day will be celebrated in a virtual format to welcome 158 children into 105 Los Angeles County families on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. With the help of 11 volunteer judicial officers from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, pro bono attorneys with the Alliance for Children’s Rights and Public Counsel, and staff from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), these children in LA County foster care will permanently join their forever families during the 22nd annual National Adoption Day event, which originated in LA County more than two decades ago.
Presiding Judge of Juvenile Court Akemi Arakaki will lead off a virtual news conference at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow, followed by adoption hearings at 9 a.m. The virtual news conference, which may be viewed at this link, will feature remarks from U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass, LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, DCFS Director Bobby D. Cagle, Public Counsel’s President, and CEO Mónica Ramírez Almadani, actress and author Danica McKellar on behalf of the Dave Thomas Foundation, the Millner family, and the Alliance for Children’s Rights President and CEO Jennifer L. Braun. A special tribute will be included for adoption advocate and actor Willie Garson, who recently passed away. Once the live stream ends, the video will be available at the same link for those unable to tune in live.
“National Adoption Day is a heartwarming annual event showcasing the power of adoption in the lives of children and families throughout LA County,” Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County Eric C. Taylor said. “The Court is proud to continue this annual tradition and wishes all of the newly formed families a wonderful holiday season as they begin this new chapter.”
“The Court is delighted to conduct this National Adoption Day,” Judge Arakaki said. “Though we are disappointed we are again unable to celebrate the creation of forever families in person due to the ongoing pandemic, the essence of National Adoption Day endures – to establish permanence and stability in the lives of children through the finalization of loving and lasting homes with adoptive parents. Thank you to our partners at the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Public Counsel and DCFS for their commitment to make this happy occasion possible for these LA County families.”
Cynthia J. Billey, director of the Alliance for Children’s Rights said, “Despite unprecedented hardships posed by the pandemic, hundreds of families in Los Angeles have persisted in pursuing adoption and providing safety, security and permanency for the children in their care. Today, we celebrate their resilience and commitment, and congratulate them on building a family through adoption.”
While National Adoption Day showcases the power of adoption by providing a venue to finalize large numbers of families at one time, the Court and its partners work throughout the year to ensure children in the LA County foster care system are placed in the forever homes they deserve. In fact, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Court has finalized 2,442 uncontested adoptions virtually since March 2020.
“There are many children living in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families,” Cagle said. “On National Adoption Day, these children will permanently become part of a loving family. When a child is adopted, they benefit from the stable and nurturing environment needed to become confident adults. By opening their hearts and their homes, adoptive parents change the lives of these children forever.”
National Adoption Day symbolizes the formation of new families for children and their adoptive parents and the Court and its partners’ dedication to pursuing forever homes for every child. National Adoption Day was inspired by a program developed by former Presiding Judge of Juvenile Court Michael Nash, in collaboration with the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Public Counsel, and DCFS. Judge Nash (ret.) is now the Director of the County’s Office of Child Protection.
“National Adoption Day is the culmination of months of work by pro bono attorneys, DCFS social workers, nonprofit law firms, and the Children’s Court staff,” said Ramírez Almadani. “More importantly, today is an opportunity to recognize the incredible families finalizing adoptions, and to celebrate their love, commitment, and unwavering patience and support for their children. Thank you, families, for allowing us to share this unforgettable day with you!”
November is also National Adoption Month. This year’s National Adoption Month theme, “Every Conversation Matters,” highlights the importance of integrating youth engagement into daily child welfare practice and creating an environment where adoptive children can be honest and ask questions.
“Thank you to our pro bono attorneys, the volunteer judicial officers, our court staff, and justice partners for making this event possible,” Judge Arakaki said. “Thank you also to Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor, Assistant Presiding Judge Samantha P. Jessner and Executive Officer/Clerk of Court Sherri R. Carter for your continuing support of this event and for your commitment to the children and families of LA County. Congratulations to all adoptive parents and children on participating in the wonderful opportunity that National Adoption Day brings to celebrate the significance of loving and lasting homes.”
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