Families celebrate National Adoption Day in the best way possible

DOVER — Five Delaware families grew Saturday, with six children being officially adopted by loving parents in special ceremonies.

Dozens of people turned out for the 11th Annual National Adoption Day event to watch their friends and loved one expand their families, with plenty of cheers and some tears of joy among participants and those in the audience.

Part of a nationwide effort to spread the word about adoption, the event was held by the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families and a coalition of nonprofits.

With a few simple words, Family Court judges transferred custody over to the new parents, who began the rest of their lives as mothers and fathers.

“Everything is in order to finalize what they already know in their hearts, which is to make them a family,” Judge Louann Vari declared.

The children, who range in age from six months to 6 years, had previously been in foster care with the parents who adopted them Saturday.

Ryan and Jackie Buckland have cared for their new son, Ian, for 15 months. After trying and failing to have children, they considered adoption and then decided to start with foster care with the intent to adopt.

Just days after being approved, they took Ian into their home. In September, they received word they would be able to finally adopt him.

It was, said Mr. Buckland, “a sigh of relief.”

Jose Rodriguez-Ramirez and Andrew Steiner wait with their adopted daughter Victoria
at the 11th Annual Adoption Day at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover on
Saturday.

As foster parents, they received substantial assistance from friends and family, Mr. Buckland said, describing a support system as necessary.

The Bucklands, who live in Smyrna, plan to remain in touch with their son’s biological siblings and send pictures to his biological parents through the nonprofit they worked with.

Joy was evident on the faces of both Mr. and Mrs. Buckland, although little Ian seemed a tad overwhelmed by all the attention.

Adopting a child is a long process that can take years depending on whether it’s a domestic or international adoption and if the child was previously in foster care with the family.

For international adoptions, requirements vary by country. Some mandate the parents be a certain age or visit the country several times beforehand, and they often place other limits, such as only making older children or those with disabilities available.

It’s simpler locally, although there are still strict guidelines in place to ensure children end up with only the best families.

In 2017, 113 Delaware foster children were adopted by Delaware families.

About 750 kids of varying ages in the state and 500,000 nationwide are in foster care, according to the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families.

They’re typically placed in foster care either because of neglect or simply because the parents cannot provide the necessary supervision and affection. Sometimes it’s temporary, and sometimes the kids are quickly picked up by other relatives.

Children “age out” at 18, but the state may continue to provide some services, such as vocational training and housing assistance, for another three years.

In Delaware, children at least 14 years old in foster care can choose whether they wish to be adopted or not.

Saturday was a very special day for Nathan and Tianna Scott and 6-year-old Nathaniel and 5-year-old Faith, as the Scotts officially adopted the siblings one year after welcoming them into their home.

The two aren’t the first kids the couple has fostered but something just clicked, and the Scotts decided to seek permanent custody, Mrs. Scott said.

As the family gathered for pictures after the brief ceremony, Faith had a big grin on her faith.

Her parents were just as thrilled.

“I’m speechless. It’s an overwhelming feeling,” Mrs. Scott said, characterizing it as “unexplainable.”

For information on adoption and foster care, visit https://kids.delaware.gov/fs/fs.shtml.

 

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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