GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Courts across the state hosted events Tuesday to unite foster children with families in celebration of Adoption Day.
The Michigan Supreme Court marked the official completion of the adoption process during an event at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing with the theme of “Giving Thanks for Families.” County courts that didn’t host events provided educational materials about the adoption process.
Adoption Day is an annual tradition held around the Thanksgiving holiday and highlights the needs of children in foster care. According to the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange, there are more than 10,000 children in foster care in the state. So far this year, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and contracted private agency partners have provided permanent homes for approximately 1,600 children. That’s actually fewer children than what has been recorded over the last four years. However, there are still about 250 children who still need a forever home.
The Ottawa County Family Court presided over the adoptions of eight children by six families.
Russ and Amy Miller from Dorr adopted 2-year-old Graceland Marie. They have been her foster parents since not long after she was born.
“…We get to make official what’s been in our hearts, that this little one is a part of our family and she is such a blessing to us and so we get the stamp of approval that says it’s true and it’s forever,” Russ Miller said.
Graceland’s biological mother died and the Millers’ case took time to go through court system.
“Every case is different. Our case was long. There was interstate discussions identifying (a) safe place for her and so ours was over two years,” Russ Miller said. “When the question of her adoption came up we didn’t even need to talk about it because she was a member of our family.”
Rob and Rachelle Howard from Hudsonville, who were also first-time foster parents, now have seven children with Delilah and Leah officially adopted.
“It was something that I maybe was hesitant to go into because I thought, ‘We’ve got five kids already, what kind of car am I going to get to put two more in?’ But our kids are older. We had some space in the house and we had room in our hearts for more kids,” Rob Howard said.
The families hope more people consider adoption and become foster parents:
“I would say research, learn. It’s a long process, at least in our case, but I would say do it. There’s such an incredible need and the blessing to us the joy she brings us is profound,” Russ Miller said.