November is National Adoption Month. And to celebrate, the Indiana Adoption Program, Department of Child Services, and the Allen County Superior Court hosted a special event.
Thirty-six adoptions were finalized at the courthouse last Thursday.
The process to complete an adoption can be long, filled with paperwork, hearings and waiting. But for many gathered at the Allen County Courthouse, it was a journey that was worthwhile.
“Now all the legal stuff is done, and it’s a relief,” said Peter Stratton, who adopted a boy with his wife Brenna. Silas is their first child. He’s now seven months old, but they were with his biological mother during delivery.
Peter and Brenna had little time to prepare. They found out two hours before Silas was born that his biological mother had picked them to be his adoptive parents.
“You know, you’re just kind of going on adrenaline, you didn’t have time to think about it, and then you saw him, and it was perfect,” Brenna said.
Judge Charles Pratt works in the family services division of the Allen County Superior Court. He sees children in tough situations, and sees adoption as a way to give children a loving family.
“It’s a thrill to do this because you get to see families come together, you get to see the end side of some pretty traumatic experiences that happen within children’s lives,” Pratt said.
Pratt says some parents can’t provide for a child, and they choose to voluntarily give up their parental rights.
“Parents do probably the greatest exercise of love to make sure that that child has a safe home that they, in facing their own realities cannot,” he said.
Pratt says last year they had about 160 adoptions in Allen County, and this year he expects about the same. But there are more children who need to be adopted. He hopes adoption month helps raise awareness for those who still don’t have homes.