'Through saying yes, we are moving mountains'
For some, Nov. 22 was an ordinary day. But for 23 children, it was the day they officially became part of their forever families.
The National Adoption Day event at the Plaza Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach finalized the adoption of these children into 15 different families from Volusia, Flagler and Putnam County. Hosted by the Community Partnership for Children, the ceremony was held publicly to celebrate the importance of adoptions, according to a press release. Last year, CPC finalized 277 adoptions in the three counties.
"We are one track to exceed our goal this year as well," said Tiffany Garten, adoption supervisor at CPC. "This adoption unit works hard to ensure that we are achieving permanency for as many of our children as we can through the process of adoption."
Circuit Judge Christopher France shared a personal story of adoption in his family — it was about Andrew John, the brother he gained when his father remarried. A.J. had been adopted by France's stepmom.
Years after their parents married, France and A.J. had a "heart-to-heart."
"I told him, ‘A.J., you are the brother I never had," France recalled. "And he looked at me and said, ‘I feel the same way.'"
Just like A.J. changed his life, France said what these families came to the Plaza to do would also change their lives.
“Sometimes 'yes' is the only thing we can say because we are here for a bigger purpose."
Amanda Bailey, former CPC worker
“By this act that we are about to embark on, this legal act, we’re really engaging in an adventure of a lifetime and I’m proud and thankful to each of you for choosing to do that," France said.
Former CPC worker Amanda Bailey also spoke at the ceremony. She said when she left her job due to moving out of the area, she soon realized how much she missed the joy of adoptions. Later on, she got involved with helping CPC with recruitment.
By taking in an adopted child, you are changing their lives, Bailey said. It creates a "ripple effect of happiness and hope."
“Sometimes 'yes' is the only thing we can say because we are here for a bigger purpose," Bailey said. "We may not have seen it two months ago, two years ago or even the day of placement, but through saying yes, we are moving mountains.”
Still, while she loved the feeling of helping someone create their family through adoption, Bailey admitted she never thought it would form part of her story.
For she and her husband, starting the adoption process wasn't easy.
“There’s a lot of loss to resolve and some big questions that need to be asked and answered," Bailey said. "There’s major faith from deep within that you need to find.”
It's days like this, Bailey said, that give her that faith.