LOS ANGELES – Virtual adoption ceremonies are set Saturday as part of National Adoption Day for 149 children who have been in Los Angeles County foster care.
Officials noted that families had gathered in past years at the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Courthouse for adoption hearings and family photo sessions, but said the COVID-19 pandemic required substantial changes to this year’s event.
“To ensure social distancing and public health, we are unfortunately unable to celebrate together in person at the Edelman Courthouse this year,” said Victor H. Greenberg, presiding judge of the court’s Juvenile division. “However, the most important aspect of this event is the formation of new families for children and their adoptive parents. While we may not be able to enjoy National Adoption Day in our usual environment, we are together in this moment, and remain dedicated to pursuing permanence for every child we have the privilege to serve.”
The adoption ceremonies will be done virtually through a court- developed program that will connect 11 judicial officers presiding in courtrooms to the 92 adoptive families at their homes. Pro bono attorneys with the Alliance for Children’s Rights and Public Counsel, and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services are also set to participate.
The largest percentage of children being adopted — 37% — are between 3 and 5 years old, with 26% between 6 and 9 years old and 13% between 0 and 2 years old, officials said. Children who are between ages 10 and 14 comprise 18% of those being adopted, while 6% are 15 or older, officials said. There are 36 groups of two siblings or more.
“We are so proud and profoundly grateful to have — even amidst an incredibly challenging year — pushed forward in collaboration with our partners to ensure that hundreds of families in Los Angeles can safely finalize their adoptions,” said Cynthia J. Billey, director of the Alliance for Children’s Rights Adoption Program and co-founder of National Adoption Day. “While this National Adoption Day may look different than years before, one thing remains true — children and young adults deserve to find love, security and stability in a family, and we are deeply honored and committed to supporting them on that path to permanency.”
The event is held each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.