“The judicial building is not always filled with joy, but in some cases, it becomes the place where families are created.
Recently, the Duval County courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida, transformed into a festive space for a special adoption event right in the heart of Halloween. On that day, 11 families took 15 children under their protection who were previously in foster care!
“Wonderful families are welcoming these children, providing them with the love and stability they so desperately need,” emphasized Judge Michael Kalil, who presided over the ceremony. “It’s a beautiful event.”
The Halloween adoption marked an excellent start to the National Adoption Awareness Month in November and was the first event of its kind since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The organizer was the nonprofit agency Family Support Services of North Florida, which worked extraordinarily during the pandemic to assist 200 more children than usual.
The organization’s President and CEO, Jenn Petion, explained that they decided to organize the “Home for Halloween” event at the beginning of the festive season for a specific reason.
“Holidays can be particularly challenging when children remember the family they never had and feel the pain of not having found a safe and loving home,” she noted.
“Concluding an event related to a celebration really starts to change these memories and allows children to symbolize the beginning of eternity, the start of something new, and the certainty that they can truly count on a wonderful happy ending.”
Jenn, who attended the event dressed as Elsa from “Frozen,” said there wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom anymore. Many invited their loved ones to witness the adoptions, and the children were thrilled to end their days in foster care and enter their forever homes.
Many adoptive families started as foster families and waited months, if not years, for it to become official. The Chen family brought their four biological children to adopt Lacey, a nearly two-year-old girl they had been caring for since birth.
Her father, Paul Chen, hopes that such events will inspire others to become foster parents and adopt thousands of children in need of a home.
“If you have the opportunity to be a foster parent, please help your community and the children—be foster parents,” he said.
Jenn agreed, adding that there is no “perfect” foster family. “We need families of different types, from different socio-cultural backgrounds, at different stages of life, to meet the diverse needs of our children in our system,” she continued.
“Whether temporary parents in the foster care system or a permanent home through adoption, we need diverse families to address the specific needs and abilities of our children.”