A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
On Nov. 18, nearly 600 people are expected to gather for the National Adoption Day Celebration at the OnCenter in Syracuse.
This annual event draws people from throughout Central New York and is expected to finalize 55 adoptions.
Family court judges from Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga, Jefferson, Oneida and Herkimer will preside over the adoptions of residents from their respective counties.
Parents, many of whom are foster parents, will leave the ceremony as the legal mother and/or father of their child.
The event is a meaningful and happy occasion, and one many families have long anticipated.
The event also helps draw attention to the need for foster children to be paired with adoptive homes.
There are approximately 427,910 children in the foster care system in the U.S., 111,820 of whom await adoption.
To assist in finding more foster children permanent homes, the event also features multiple agencies who work to match foster care children with families.
Agencies will be present with tables where visitors can find more information, including lists and photographs of children who are ready to be adopted.
The public is invited to attend to visit the tables and to witness the ceremonies.
Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m.
Many volunteers donate their time to see that this meaningful event continues and work to make the event memorable for the families.
Local musicians perform as people file in before the adoptions take place.
Judges ring a bell each time a new child is adopted during the ceremony.
Magicians provide entertainment and others make balloon animals for the children.
A local photographer takes the family’s first portrait and donates the picture to the family.
Several volunteer photographers also take pictures of the families and provide an album to each family following the event.
The event has grown significantly over the years.
It first began in 2001 with less than 15 people attending the first ceremony.
After witnessing how significant it was to the families, those who were there worked with the Onondaga County Department of Social Services, several non-profit agencies, and private attorneys to invite more families to celebrate the day.
Today, organizers say the event is not only a celebration of those who are newly adopted but provides some families from years past the opportunity to come back to celebrate their anniversary of becoming a family.
The state maintains an Adoption Services website through the Office of Children and Family Services which can be viewed at www.ocfs.state.ny.us/adopt.
There is a link to frequently asked questions about adoption.
It also points users to adoption resources and enables users to view a video gallery of children who are available to adopt which can be viewed at http://ocfs.ny.gov/adopt/disclaimer.asp.
For more information, call New York State Adoptive Services Parent Connection at 1-800-345-KIDS.
The state only manages the adoption of children who enter into the foster care system.
Private adoptions are managed through several private or non-profit agencies.
The guidebook titled “Adopting a Child From Foster Care in New York State” provides a good framework to understanding foster care and adoption and can be viewed at http://on.ny.gov/1MGwc4A.
If you and your family have a child in your home and wish to possibly finalize his or her adoption on National Adoption Day, please contact your caseworker, attorney or Family Court Adoption Clerk.
For more information or questions about the event or National Adoption Day, please call Amy Cimino, Adoption Clerk for the Onondaga County Family Court at 315-671-4248.
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My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.
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