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Red State
Red State
18 Nov 2023
Jennifer Oliver O'Connell


NextImg:Feel-Good Friday: National Adoption Day Elicits All the Feels, and Presents Opportunities to Give

The Saturday before Thanksgiving is the celebration of National Adoption Day. This is a nationwide effort founded by a coalition of partners, including the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Alliance for Children’s Rights and Children’s Action Network, to raise awareness of the more than 120,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care.

On November 18, 2000, the coalition and the Freddie Mac Foundation encouraged nine cities to open their courts on or around the Saturday before Thanksgiving to finalize and celebrate adoptions from foster care.

Friday and Saturday, from Tampa to Boston and beyond, children and teenagers have had adoptions finalized. In St. Johns County, Florida, eight children were officially placed in their forever homes.

Eight children are now home with their new families after getting their adoptions finalized during a special ceremony held by the St. Johns County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller’s office Friday morning.

To make this day even more special, these adoptions were finalized on National Adoption Day.

The eight children were adopted by four St. Johns County families.

“I’m just thankful that we will all be together as an actual family now,” Felicia Farris, mother of Bella and Landon, said.

News4JAX asked Bella and Landon how they felt on this special day, and they both responded with one word – “happy.”

When asked what are they most excited about this upcoming Thanksgiving they said “turkey” and “fried chicken.”

In another county in Florida, 47 children were adopted.

And so it goes, in multiple cities across America. On Saturday, more courts will open with full staff assisting in the building and re-building of families and the restoration of lives. Children's lives will be forever changed. It's a beautiful way to kick off the season of gratitude and giving, and a powerful statement to the strength of family bonds. 

Not everyone can foster or adopt. However, one can be part of a supportive community for those who take that leap. The Family Enrichment Center in Kentucky does great work in supporting parenting, whether it is natural born, foster, or adoptive. But they affirm that the support of the community is essential to families that take on a foster or adopt.

Lee Fowlkes, the director of the center, speaks about building community for and being good neighbors to the families in the community that have adopted.

“A lot of people who do adopt may need some support, that there are ways that you can support and help people who have adopted is is really, really great, and so it’s really helpful knowing that when families adopt, the adoption day is not the end of their journey. Some people may not be able to adopt, but maybe they can provide a weekend respite for family has adopted just to give people a little bit of a break or some help or just babysit and give them a weekly night out,” Fowlkes said.

Are there families in your community who foster or have recently adopted? Do your church, synagogue, or community organizations have programs that help these families where you can involve yourself in their work? Is there a local center, like Family Enrichment of KY, in your neck of the woods where you could volunteer, donate, or assist? Perhaps become a Secret Santa for these families and buy presents for the children? Even providing a meal once a week to a family could make a huge difference in easing the pressure and transition into their new or different routine. However you find to participate, there could not be a better time to enrich the lives of those around you, especially during this season of giving. Take advantage of the season's promise, potential, and possibility to alter the course of families within your community.