By Danielle McCarthy Everett
Nov. 17 will go down as one of the happiest days of the year for 15 children and the local families who adopted them at the annual Bell County Bar Association’s Adoption Day event. Families, judges, attorneys and others at the event were emotional, and at times even teary-eyed, as they finalized the adoptions of 15 children, officially securing their “forever homes.”
One local family, the Nashes, were shocked and overwhelmed by the support they received at the ceremony as about 50 fellow church and family members stood by their side as the adoption of their two children was finalized. With the large crowd surrounding them, Allen and Beth Nash made an official pledge to the children and to Judge Charles Van Orden that they will love and care for the children, Callie and Johnny. Child Protective Services placed the pair with the Nashes in January and the children immediately secured their place in the couple’s hearts.
“I’m overwhelmed and so very excited,” Beth Nash said. “They really have been our family since January – day one. Now it’s legal. We finally have the paperwork done.”
Another couple, Lawanda Adkison and her husband, Deandre Abritton, also said they were excited and glad to make the adoption of their new 1-year-old daughter, Teanne, official. It was the couple’s second time at the event as Adkison and Abritton had actually adopted Teanne’s older sister, Gloria, last year.
“I didn’t want to see a family get lost in the system, so I decided to adopt,” said Adkison.
The excitement was not limited to the families finalizing their adoptions.
“It’s exciting,” said Associate Judge Charles Van Orden. “Adoptions are happy. We don’t get to do many happy things in our courts. They instill us with hope, and judges need that as much as anyone.”
The Adoption Day event aligned with National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness and celebrate families who have or are adopting.
“Everyone needs a forever family and it doesn’t matter how old you are,” said Denise Hyde, an attorney and member of the Bell County Bar Association. “We actually find a lot of kids who have aged out of foster care that still want to be adopted even as adults.”
For local families considering adoption, Judge Van Orden recommends people visit the Facebook page Foster Love Bell County.
“You can hear what the needs are for foster care in Bell County and get involved in different aspects,” he said.