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Adoption Is Celebrated At Courthouse Events Across Washington

Monica Spain
Nicole and Thad Kittelson with their new daughter Seryna at an Adoption Day event in 2014 in King County

More than a hundred families will gather at county courthouses around Washington state Thursday and Friday to finalize their adoption of children.

The annual statewide eventis part of National Adoption Day, which is intended to celebrate adoptees and their families and encourage adoption of kids still waiting for  permanent homes. King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum chairs the annual event. King County’s adoption celebration will be held on Friday.

Lum was adopted as a child. He says there was a time when people didn’t talk openly about adoption and that's something events like this hope to change.

“What we’re  saying is we’re proud that we’re adopted. It’s wonderful that we have forever families and that people have extended themselves and brought kids into their lives, so let’s not whisper about it, let’s talk about it as loud as we can,” Lum said.

There are 1,700 children in foster care in Washington who are waiting to be adopted. The Northwest Adoption Exchange works to find adoptive families. A big challenge is finding permanent homes for older children and teenagers.

Last year, the organization turned to the teens to see how they wanted to promote themselves. Some asked to make videos, which are now up on the website.

Tyler Helbach, director of Northwest Adoption Exchange, says thousands of people have watched the videos, but it’s too early to tell how much of an impact they’ll have because the adoption process can take more than six months. 

Helbach says teens have also created podcasts, paintings and music to show their personality to prospective parents. He also notes one advantage of adopting a teenager is you can find someone who shares your interests, making it easy to bond with them.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.