Sixteen foster children will become permanent members of Tri-City families Nov. 21 when their adoptions are finalized during a public celebration.
Benton-Franklin Superior Court is participating in National Adoption Day with a 3 p.m. ceremony at the Franklin County Courthouse in Pasco.
The public is invited to attend at 1016 N. Fourth Ave. The main event starts in Superior Court’s Courtroom 2, followed by adoption proceedings for the eight families in separate courtrooms.
The theme this year is “A Family for Every Child.”
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Washington has been observing National Adoption Day since 2005. Benton-Franklin Superior Court joined in the celebration the following year, and is marking its ninth anniversary with the event this Friday.
“The lack of a stable, nurturing home has enormous impacts on the life of a child. It’s something courts see far too often,” Judge Dean Lum with King County Superior Court said in a news release. Lum, who himself was adopted, is chairman of the Washington State National Adoption Day Steering Committee.
“The courts are also privileged to take part when a family opens its heart to a child and gives him or her a new home and a new place to belong,” he added. “That’s the magic of adoption and that’s why we celebrate. To spread the word.”
A total 24 counties statewide either will host or join in events this week “to honor adoption and the crucial difference it makes in the lives of children,” according to Washington’s Administrative Office of Courts. Adoptions are expected to be completed on more than 130 foster children and orphans.
In the past decade, 15,418 foster children in Washington have been adopted into new families. Of those children, 1,478 permanently joined their new families during public National Adoption Day events.
However, during that same time, 1,003 legally free foster children — meaning their biological parents’ rights have been terminated by the courts — aged out of the system without ever finding permanent families, the Administrative Office of Courts said.
Currently there are more than 8,600 Washington children living in foster care.