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Kids celebrate national Adoption Day

Five Island County children are welcomed into new families

COUPEVILLE — Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock stood before a standing-room-only court room. And it was a good thing.

“Is there anything you want to say?” he asked.

The two young children before him shook their heads “No” in unison.

“OK, then I will sign the papers and the adoption degrees,”

Hancock said and the large audience cheered and applauded.

Island County celebrated national Adoption Day in Coupeville last week.

Five Island County children were officially joined with their new families.

After the brief court action, it was party time with cake and balloons. Many other youngsters who had also found new parents in Island County court chambers in recent years joined the celebration.

Jordan Hobbs, 9, and sister Caitlynn, 8, were both adopted that day by a family member.

“It’s a pretty cool day,” Jordan said.

Caitlynn added that it was a strange feeling when the judge asked them to say something. But, now, celebrating with the other children was great.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Carla Grau-Egerton, program coordinator for Island County Court Appointed Social Advocates, said the event was not only intended to celebrate the adoptions, but to publicize the need for more foster parents, whether they are willing to adopt a child in the future, or would simply be willing to care for a child until a permanent home can be found.

“Due to a lack of sufficient foster homes on Whidbey Island, nearly half of our foster children have to be placed in homes in other counties,” she said.

“In this situation, a child not only loses the place she has known as home, but she is cut off from school, neighborhood and relatives’ ties. This is a terrible experience for a child to endure due to circumstances completely beyond her control,” Grau-Egerton added.

Jessica Torres, a college student at Skagit Valley College, said it was heartwarming to observe the adoption ceremony.

She was adopted just a few years earlier on the eve of her 18th birthday, just before she would have separated from the foster care system.

Torres said it was seven years ago when she was called out of class to find her siblings in a room with school officials, social workers and police. The children were put into foster care.

“I was with six families before this family,” she said. “This is why I call this one my lucky number seven.”

Torres said it was exciting to see a new generation of children finding new homes and families to love them.

Christina Urtasun, a mom of four boys and one adopted daughter, said it is a challenging but rewarding job to care for foster or adopted children.

Urtasun has been a foster parent for more than seven years. She also coordinates an Island County support group for foster and adoptive parents and those who want to become parents. She said the exchange with other parents is valuable.

The group can be reached at 360-675-6981.

To learn about Island County programs, call 360-240-5560.

Michaela Marx Wheatley can be reached at 221-5300 or mmarxwheatley@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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