Saturday will mark the 25th anniversary of Adoption Day, an annual celebration at the District of Columbia Superior Court that recognizes the close to 200 families who choose to adopt each year.
The event, hosted by the court and the city’s Child and Family Services Agency, will honor the families who finalized 180 adoptions in the 2011 fiscal year, along with families expected to finalize 29 new adoptions on Saturday.
The city's Adoption Day was the brainchild of Superior Court Senior Judge Bruce Mencher, according to presiding Family Court Judge Zoe Bush. The event predates National Adoption Day, which is also tomorrow and was started in 2000.
Bush, herself an adoptive parent, said that besides honoring adoptive families, Adoption Day is about providing information to prospective families, too.
“It’s important because young people who age out of foster care without caring, committed adults attached to them, often have negative outcomes associated with that status,” from underachieving in school to homelessness, Bush said.
Adoption Day is also about celebrating the lawyers who help families navigate successful adoptions and guardianships, said Judith Sandalow, executive director of the Children’s Law Center. Nearly 50 local law firms, including some of the biggest names in the business, contribute pro bono help to the center’s adoption- and guardianship-related legal services program.
“In any adoption case, the petitioner – the person adopting – needs to file legal paperwork. There is a trial, evidence is presented,” Sandalow said. “The law creates new families in many different ways, and adoption is one of those ways.”
Tyronetta and Timothy Leech, who live in Fort Washington, Md., will be celebrating Adoption Day at the Superior Court by finalizing the adoptions of two of their five children. Tyronetta Leech urged other interested families to attend and get more information.
“There are so many children in the system who need a caring and loving home,” she said. But, she added, “This is not something that you can go in and take lightly.”
The number of annual adoptions in the District has fluctuated in recent years, but usually falls between 150 and 200, Bush said. In 2010, there were 189 children adopted, up from 177 in 2009 but down from 195 in 2008.
More information Adoption Day is available on the Superior Court’s Web site.