Adoption Day celebrates loving families in Norfolk area
Deciding to have a child is one of the most profound and rewarding decisions a person can make.
Adopting a child into a family is no less significant.
That’s why National Adoption Day is celebrated each November across the U.S., recognizing the youths who legally entered into their “forever homes” the previous year.
Madison County Judge Ross Stoffer, along with many other organizations and individuals, helped to get the annual event started in the Norfolk area nine years ago.
“Research shows that children do better when in a family environment, so efforts to help children reach this goal are a good investment in the future and to be celebrated,” Stoffer said.
The celebration this year in Norfolk was Saturday afternoon at the Norfolk YMCA and was hosted by Stoffer.
Entertainment and activities included a jump house, swimming, laser tag, balloon animals, crafts, a meal and a short program.
Attendees included children who had been adopted in Madison, Pierce, Antelope, Cedar, Wayne, Cuming, Stanton and Knox counties.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 400,000 children are in foster care, with 114,000 waiting to be adopted into a permanent loving, stable home.
In Nebraska alone, there were 396 adoptions finalized from January through the end of October. The average age of a child adopted during that time is 7 years old, and the average time a child is in care before being adopted is 2.5 years.
As of Oct. 29, there were still 405 children in Nebraska who were available for adoption.
“Adoption Day is also an opportunity to bring attention to the children that are still in foster homes seeking a permanent, forever adoptive home and hopefully to encourage people to consider adopting these children,” Stoffer said.
While some of the children available for adoption have come from homes where the parents’ rights have been terminated, others come from homes where the parents recognized that, for whatever reason, they could not provide for their children’s needs.
“We also need to remember the love and sacrifice those parents have for their children by allowing them to have a different home that can provide for their needs,” Stoffer said.
Stoffer said he enjoys being a part of the adoption process in the courtroom.
“Adoptions are fun for judges! It can be the finalization of a permanent home for a child that we have seen go through a difficult time, a child being adopted by a stepparent or other types of situations,” he said. “It is an honor to be involved in the process and to celebrate with those who are willing to give a child a permanent home and the help and guidance that all of us need during our youth.”