‘We knew he had to be our child’

Beth and Randy Thompson of Felton play with Gabriel, 1, as Judge Kenneth Millman confirms their adoption during Adoption Day Celebration held at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Beth and Randy Thompson of Felton play with Gabriel, 1, as Judge Kenneth Millman confirms their adoption during Adoption Day Celebration held at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Saturday confirmed what Beth and Randy Thompson have known for almost 18 months.

They’re deeply committed to raising adopted son Gabriel and aren’t letting him go.

On National Adoption Day the Sandtown area family attended a ceremony with several other parents at the Delaware Agriculture Museum.

Gabriel wore a shirt bearing “Officially a Thompson.”

“I am so glad the pieces have finally fallen into place,” Mrs. Thompson said. “It’s a very long process and I’ve learned how to become extremely patient.”

Through the Delaware Children’s Department the Thompsons took Gabriel into their care in April 2015, when he was two months old and addicted to heroin due to his birth mother’s drug use.

“Within a week we knew he had to be our child,” said Mrs. Thompson, an emergency room nurse.

Gabriel’s birth parents were grateful for the Thompson’s care, according to Randy. They attended court hearings and doctor’s visits as the adoption process moved forward.

“When they decided to leave him with us I dropped to my knees and thanked God,” Mrs. Thompson said.

The birth parents last saw Gabriel in September 2015 and haven’t been heard from since, according to Mr. Thompson.

Beth and Randy Thompson of Felton with Gabriel, 1, during Adoption Day Celebration held at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Beth and Randy Thompson of Felton with Gabriel, 1, during Adoption Day Celebration held at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

“It’s been over year and it’s like they dropped off the face of the earth,” he said.

According to Mrs. Thompson, they’ll eventually tell Gabriel about his past and explain that, “sometimes people are good at having babies but not raising them. We’ll tell him his parents had a sickness. There’s no need to hide it from him.”

Mr. Thompson’s 15-year-old son from a previous marriage has bonded with his younger sibling.

“He loves Gabriel and Gabriel looks up to his big brother,” said Mr. Thompson, who works as a mechanic.

Gabriel began life in a hospital detoxification program for a month, weaning the heroin out of his system. He would have seizures at times, but came through.

Mrs. Thompson described Gabriel as “developmentally brilliant with his hand-eye coordination and verbal skills. He isn’t on any medications, healthy, active, very social and sleeps well.” ,

The Thompsons previously provided short-time care for 10 to 12 foster children, once for a couple hours, another time for nearly a month.

Mr. Thompson described fostering children as “very hard. It’s the biggest emotional roller coaster in your life.”

No saying goodbye

In Gabriel’s case, however, there’s no saying goodbye.

“When you see how their parents are living and their lifestyle, no child should have to go through that,” Mr. Thompson said.

The State of Delaware has orchestrated the legal adoption of 58 children from foster care this year, including six sibling groups, infants to 16-year-olds.

There were 82 adoptions from foster care in 2015. The numbers don’t include children through private agencies or other countries.

According to the Delaware Children’s Department, there’s an average wait of 18 months for an infant to be adopted from the foster care system. Older children typically wait about 30 months or so.

Adoptive parents come from every demographic group and all three of Delaware’s counties, officials said. The parents age range goes from early 20’s to 60.

According to the Children’s Department, “on any given day, there are approximately 50 children in Delaware waiting for an adoptive family. Each child is unique and in need of the love and support only a family can provide.”

Portraits of children available for adoption are posted online at kids.delaware.gov/fs/adoption.shtml.

For more information, contact Frank A. Perfinski, Adoption Program Manager, Division of Family Services at 633-2655 or Frank.Perfinski@state.de.us.

Delaware’s Kent- and Sussex County-based licensed adoption service agencies contact information includes:

• Children’s Choice of Delaware Inc., 707 Walker Road Suite 100 in Dover, 678-0404, childrenschoice.org.

• Children & Families First, 91 Wolf Creek Boulevard in Dover, 674-8384 and 410 S. Bedford Street in Georgetown, 856-2388, cffde.org.

• A Better Chance for Our Children, 805 S. DuPont Highway, Milford, 725-5008, ABCFOC.org.

Also, the National Adoption Center website is online at www.adopt.org.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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