NEARLY 100 FAMILIES WILL ADOPT 136 CHILDREN TOMORROW DURING THE COURT’S ANNUAL NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY CELEBRATION
Virtual News Conference Will Kick Off Event at 8:15 a.m. Tomorrow
National Adoption Day will be celebrated in person and virtually tomorrow to finalize the adoption of 136 children into nearly 100 Los Angeles County families. Celebrated on the Saturday before Thanksgiving with the help of 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. The event, which originated in LA County and has been celebrated nationally for 23 years, will see the return of in-person adoption hearings for the first time since the pandemic’s onset, along with a virtual attendance option for families and friends and a virtual news conference.
Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court Akemi Arakaki will lead off a virtual news conference at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow, followed by adoption hearings beginning at 9 a.m. The virtual news conference will be streamed via YouTube with remarks from LA County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, DCFS Director Brandon T. Nichols, Alliance for Children’s Rights President and CEO Jennifer L. Braun, Public Counsel’s President and CEO Mónica Ramírez Almadani and Amy Chang on behalf of Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
Once the virtual news conference ends, the news conference video will be available at the same link for those unable to tune in at 8:15 a.m.
“The Court again looks forward to our National Adoption Day celebration to share in the one-ofa-kind joy created by these special children joining their forever families,” Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor said. “The true spirit of National Adoption Day lies in the permanence and stability of a loving adoptive home, and we thank our partners at the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Public Counsel and DCFS, along with our dependency judicial officers and court staff, who work together to bring this happiness to these loving families.”
“National Adoption Day is truly a labor of love,” Judge Arakaki said. “It is only made possible because of the herculean efforts of our non-profit partners, the attorneys they recruit and our court staff.”
Cynthia J. Billey, director of the Alliance for Children’s Rights, said, “Young people of all ages want and need the love, support and encouragement of a family. Helping make that dream come true for thousands of children in foster care has been the driving force behind National Adoption Day since it began here in Los Angeles more than two decades ago. We can’t wait to see and celebrate all the children and families coming together this year with the Children’s Court’s exciting return to in-person adoption hearings. The Alliance for Children’s Rights is proud to advocate for their futures and walk alongside them in their journey to security, opportunity and happiness.”
On this 23rd National Adoption Day, the Court will finalize the adoptions of 136 children. The Court finalizes more than 1,500 adoptions annually.
“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” Nichols said. “It is such a gift for us to be able to witness this private, life-altering moment as families formalize their love and commitment to one another. Adoption creates an enduring bond that offers children, siblings and parents a source of comfort and supports that each one of them can rely on in happy times and challenging moments.”
Beginning in the late 1990s, Judge Michael Nash (retired), former Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court in LA County and current Director of the county’s Office of Child Protection, worked with a coalition of volunteer organizations, including the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Public Counsel and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, to organize adoption events on Saturdays in LA County. These events led to the launch of National Adoption Day, which has expanded to courts across the country.
“This year marks Public Counsel’s 25th anniversary of the founding of our Adoptions Project by Karen Ullman and Juli Newhouse,” Ramírez Almadani said. “Working closely with our pro bono partners, court and agency partners, and the Alliance for Children’s Rights, we have proudly assisted in over 10,000 adoptions. Public Counsel’s long-standing commitment has always been not only to finalize adoptions for children in foster care, but to ensure families have the support they need to succeed and persevere in the many days after their Adoption Day. We congratulate all the families who will finalize their adoptions today.”
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also has designated November as National Adoption Month. This year’s theme, “Small Steps Open Doors,” recognizes the powerful impact of youth engagement and the simple actions professionals can utilize to build supportive relationships with teens. It is estimated that 24% of all children waiting to be adopted nationally are teenagers. One-quarter of the children adopted tomorrow are 10 years old or older.
“It is a celebration of these families, their commitment to each other and to our future generations.” Judge Arakaki said of National Adoption Day. “During this holiday season, we as a court community are grateful for this opportunity to serve these families and to honor this awesome tradition.
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