Delaware officials, families celebrate National Adoption Day

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Family Court Judge Robert Coonin of New Castle County came to the Elizabeth Murphey School in Dover Saturday to preside over the adoption finalizations of two children. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Dozens of adoptive families, child welfare providers and members of the legal community gathered Saturday at the Elizabeth Murphey School to celebrate National Adoption Day.

While the celebration recognized all families formed through adoption, special emphasis was made to families who adopted through Delaware’s foster care system. Currently there are 4 children in the state’s foster care program waiting to be adopted.

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Judge Mardi Pyott of Kent County presided over the adoption of Sammy into his “forever family” on Saturday.

Family Court’s Judge Mardi Pyott of Kent County and Judge Robert Coonin of New Castle County presided over the adoption finalizations of two children into their “forever families.” These adoption finalizations were the first to be done on National Adoption Day in the state of Delaware and organizers hope it will become a new tradition in coming years.

“National Adoption Day is always a very special day as we celebrate all children who have been adopted. Watching the children and families — both very joyful — gives us hope for all our children waiting in foster care for a permanent family,” said Mary Lou Edgar, executive director of A Better Chance for Our Children. The non-profit agency assists with adoption and post-adoption services.

“We have over 100,000 children waiting in this country for a family,” she said. “Over 30,000 of whom reach the age of 18 and have not found one.

“We need everyone to understand that each of us must take responsibility and do our part. These children belong to all of us, and they are our hope for the future,” she said.

In addition to the two adoption finalizations, other adoptions completed in 2015 also were recognized.
Grace Otley, Miss Delaware’s Outstanding Teen for 2014, performed the song “Home” by Philip Phillips and later concluded the day’s celebration by playing the electric violin and singing “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker.

Deputy Child Advocate Kelly Ensslin said, “We have many wonderful adoptive families in Delaware and this was a great way to celebrate the families who have grown through adoption.”

She pointed out that the adoption path is not always easy.

“Thankfully Delaware has a very caring adoption community and post-adoption services are available to support families for as long as they need it,” Ms. Ensslin said. “This celebration was a testament to that awesome support.”

To learn more about post-adoption services available in Delaware,  contact A Better Chance for Our Children in Wilmington at (302) 746-7265 or in Milford at (302) 725-5008.

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