In the last three weeks, I have high-fived a stormtrooper, been startled by a six-foot-tall thunder bug and had my face painted. What carnival have I been frequenting you ask, oh, just your local county courthouses.
On three separate Fridays, I have been in three county courthouses celebrating Adoption Day ceremonies.
The finalization hearing of an adoption is a unique day of celebration. It is the end of a long road for adoptive couples, and it can be the end to an even longer road for a foster child.
Heart of Adoptions has heard Ashley Rhodes -Courter talk about foster adoption many times. Here is how she describes it in her book, “Three Little Words: A Memoir.”
“I journeyed alone for almost ten years before I found home. Adoptions are like very delicate gardening with transplants and grafts. Mine took hold, rooted, and bloomed, even though there were inevitable adjustments to the new soil and climate. Yet I have not forgotten where my roots started.”
Adoption Day is a day to celebrate this “blooming of love.”
Each celebration had its own unique spin, but they were all designed to delight the kiddos. There were craft tables and makers of balloon animals. The Pasco celebration had Poppy the troll, Peppa Pig and an enchanting Mermaid. Pinellas had the Chick-fil-A cow, and both Pasco and Pinellas were overrun with storm troopers. Hillsborough had a face painter, a few portrait stations and chocolate guitars.
Heart of Adoptions, Inc. joined the party and we brought along a caricature artist.
Heart of Adoptions sponsored Dave Smith of Dave Smith Caricatures. He brought his forty years of expertise, a pad of paper, a ton of markers, and put his heart into each of his drawings.
At each event, he drew the amazing kids that had just newly found their forever homes. With a quick pen and a smiling subject, he drew kids, siblings, and first family portraits. People were excited to have their picture drawn and many of them mentioned that they have always wanted one.
In addition to the activities, there were gift bags of goodies and just so. many. bears.
The judges handed out bears at each of the hearings and some even had handmade necklaces with the adoptees' names on them. There was also Rough Riders handing out their signature Teddy Bears as well. Kids were walking around with armfuls of “stuffies.”
In all the sparkle and color no one lost sight of the magnitude of the day. The T-shirts said it all.
All and all, this day meant home and family and the realization of this sweet phrase, “I will love you, always, no matter what.”
Ashley Rhodes-Courter sums up her foster adoption journey with this lovely quote:
“Day after day, they were there for me; until one day, I not only felt safe, I did not want to leave. Maybe that is one definition of love.”