Judges in Kent County, Michigan, brought multiple families together on Thursday during the county’s 25th annual Adoption Day.
Inside six different courtrooms, 27 children had the chance to change their last names while finalizing paperwork with their loved ones, WOOD reported.
In 2019, there were over 2,100 adoptions in the state, but less than ten percent involved children aged 13 to 17. However, the Kent County Circuit Court announced it finalized paperwork for a record nine teens on the important day this year.
The 17th Circuit Court “Family Division Bunch” will be celebrating its 25th annual Adoption Day via Zoom this Thursday,…
One individual who was adopted this week was 14-year-old Pierce Overway.
“They have taken me into their house and have loved me ever since I’ve been here,” he said of his family when the judge asked why he wished to be adopted.
The court said he spent the past seven years in foster care and lived with ten different families during that time.
Although many of the adoptions took place online, Judge Patricia Gardner made one exception for a teenager whom she watched go through the foster care system for nearly 3,000 days.
“Can you tell me in your own words why you want this adoption confirmed?” Gardner asked her.
“Because they’re my family,” 15-year-old Marissa Holmes answered.
Kent County shared photos of the young woman in the courtroom on her special day:
“Marissa is a fun, energetic, and active fifteen-year-old. She loves cheer, music, and being a normal teenager. …
She had been in the foster care system for nearly eight years and lived in 13 homes.
“To say that this has been a long time coming is an understatement. You deserved this long, long ago,” a social worker said.
Now, her adoptive parents plan to continue showing her what it means to be a family.
“We can make mistakes, we can make errors. We can make a not-so-great choice and I don’t always have to agree with the choices she makes but she is always loved through those choices,” her mother, Barbara Holmes, noted.
Gardner explained that ceremonies such as Thursday’s highlighted the need for more foster families and people willing to adopt.
“Any time you have a child enter the system, they enter with much concern, and you wonder what will be their journey,” she commented. “(Being adopted is) a dream finally realized for a teenager when that sometimes doesn’t happen for all teens in child welfare.”