San Bernardino County Celebrates Fifteenth Annual Adoption Event

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)–In honor of National Adoption Month, San Bernardino County Children and Family Services (CFS) will be holding its annual Adoption Finalization event, at 12:00 p.m. on November 14, 2012, at the Ontario Convention Center. Approximately 77 foster children will be celebrating the gift of permanence as they formalize their adoption. Children and Family Services facilitates approximately 200 adoptions per year. This year, families will be coming from throughout California and Arizona to honor this momentous occasion.

This year’s theme, “Growing Families Together,” essentially describes what adoption is all about. The Convention Center will be changed into a vibrant garden of flowers, lady bugs, and balloons in honor of this special day. In addition to making their child(ren) legally part of their family, families will be able to enjoy lunch, children’s activities and photo opportunities.

In addition to keeping children safe, finding stability and permanence for children in foster care is one of the department’s most important goals. The Annual Adoption Event honors both the children and their adoptive families, as they legally become one. The true goal of belonging to a family was met long before this day, when they became a family in their hearts. Although the children benefit greatly from having a permanent family, it is usually the adoptive parents who believe they have received the greatest gift.

“The sense of emotional connection and knowing you are part of a family that will always be with you is the foundation for the health and wellbeing for all people,” said Children and Family Services Director DeAnna Avey-Motikeit. “Today’s adoption finalization is the celebration of a hallmark day for each of these families achieving the security and love of a permanent home.”

Every year, CFS renews and strengthens its commitment to keep siblings together. All of the children at the event have been living with their caregivers, relatives or prospective adoptive parents for some time. Thisyear, there will be sibling sets consisting of two (2) to six (6) children who will be adopted together into their permanent families. There are also children of all ages joining families. The youngest child is nine months old and the oldest is 17 years old. CFS staff believes that every child deserves to be part of a family and are especially excited when a teen becomes part of a forever family.

The families will legally unite in ceremonies performed by San Bernardino County Judges. They are the Honorable Gregory S. Tavill, Juvenile Court Presiding Judge, who will also be this year’s speaker at the event; the Honorable Barbara A. Buchholz, Judge of the Superior Court; the Honorable Cheryl C. Kersey; Judge of the Superior Court; and the Honorable Christopher B. Marshall, Judge of the Superior Court.

Another feature of the event is the Children and Family Services Heart Gallery in conjunction with Heart Gallery of America, Inc. The Heart Gallery utilizes the power of photography to capture the spirit, individuality and dignity of children living in foster care in order to advocate for permanent homes. The Heart Gallery features children who are in need of committed families that can meet the child’s special needs and provide the security of a loving family. For more information, please contact the Heart Gallery at (909) 891-3300 or by email at HeartGallerySanBernardinoCounty@hss.sbcounty.gov.

CFS provides family-centered programs and services designed to ensure safety, permanence, and well-being for San Bernardino County’s children, while strengthening and attempting to preserve the family unit. CFS helps prevent further harm to children from intentional physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, exploitation, or neglect by a person responsible for a child’s health or welfare.

CFS is doing its part to help the community achieve the Countywide Vision by ensuring residents have the resources they need to provide the necessities of life to their families. Information on the Countywide Vision can be found at www.sbcounty.gov.

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