Adoption Day celebrates permanency
CENTREVILLE — Three sets of parents have promised to give a total of six children love, security, a home, the necessities of life and the best possible education, and indicated their desire that the relationship of parent and child be established between them and the children.
“It is great to see laughing, happy, mischievous children; beaming parents; teddy bears; and balloons,” Jill Booth of the State Court Administrative Office said during the annual Adoption Day held Monday, Nov. 21 in the chambers of Family Court Judge David Tomlinson. “We give thanks for the blessing of family — I hope it is the first of many happy Thanksgivings for you and the many families around the country going through adoptions this week.”
Ray and Donna Bontrager of Sturgis welcomed into their family Avaeh, 3, Misty, 4, Analeah, 6, and Aiden, 10; Cynthia and Dwayne Suter of Sturgis welcomed Isabella, and Jose and Jessica Vazquez of Sturgis welcomed Thomas, 1 1/2.
Juvenile court director and referee Thomas Robertson noted the “three generous families willing to celebrate with us.” While Tomlinson does adoptions every week, Monday was a special day to thank the families who put out extraordinary effort and celebrate children being able to begin a new life under healthy circumstances, Robertson said.
He noted that there were 13,000 children in the Michigan foster care system, and St. Joseph County tried to do its part to minimize that number. There are 6,000 foster homes in Michigan; more are always needed.
Frequently, St. Joseph County young people have to be placed out of county because there are not enough homes in-county; “we would really like them to be local to provide services to them,” Robertson said.
He added, “ultimately the goal is to keep families together, but if that doesn’t happen, adoption becomes the goal.”
Abbi Van Singel, 17, of Sturgis, who joined her family permanently in 2002, said, “being adopted has had so many long-lasting, positive effects on my life. In the beginning I had quite a bit of delays, mostly based on neglect.
“After my adoption, I was never short on attention, love, and I was always learning something from my parents. They had me enrolled in a school that seemed as though it was designed just for me.
“The teachers and my parents worked with me every day. Now I am an all A student getting ready to graduate high school. Not only did I catch up intellectually with my peers, I also gained a loving family.
“When someone chooses to adopt, you are also choosing to bond yourself with love to this child. Coming from every situation imaginable, all children are entitled to a loving family for the entirety of their life.
“All children need support through their lives as well. Supporting a child is more than physical needs. An adoptive parent provides a child with emotional support through all of life’s ups and downs. Children who are adopted typically did not have the right amount of resources in the current situation that they need. As an adoptive parent, you are providing the child with an adequate lifestyle. Parents who adopt receive an experience that continues to grow in positive ways not only for themselves, but for the child as well.
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