XENIA — Four families grew through adoption Nov. 7 at the Greene County Courthouse.
The day was unique in that adoptions are normally confidential, but the Adoption Day celebration was open to the public.
“The families with us today are unsung heroes of our community,” Greene County Probate Judge Thomas O’Diam said. “Regardless of what has happened in the past in the family’s life or the child’s life, today they’re coming together as a family and that’s what’s important.”
Throughout the morning, O’Diam approved adoption petitions for seven children in four families.
Sisters Alisia (17), Hannah (13), Olivia (10) and Lilah (6) joined the Kenne family — mom Aubree, dad Jerime, and siblings Zain (14), Eli (8), and Gwen (6).
The nine of them had been living together as a family through foster care for 2 years and 8 months.
“Everybody fits together well,” Aubree told the judge.
The parents clasped necklaces around their daughters’ necks as O’Diam signed the papers.
“There are events in our lives that stick in our memories forever. I hope today is one of those times for you because today you officially become a family,” O’Diam said. “All adoptions are special but this one is truly exceptional. Four children get a fresh start at a new and better life and a permanent family with their siblings. Two parents are blessed with the opportunity to make their lives more meaningful … Many speak of the need for a more caring and compassionate and understanding society; few actually open their homes and their hearts to complete strangers facing desperate circumstances and an uncertain future as you have done.”
Outside the courtroom, Aubree said, “God has blessed us by adding the girls to become our forever family.”
During a second foster care adoption, the Hoos family gained a son — and he gained a new name.
Kevin and Beth Hoos adopted Axel, previously named Vincent. Axel, 6, joins their adopted son Jack, and Aryanna and Duncan, who are part of their family through kinship care.
When the judge asked Axel why he wanted a new name, he replied: “Because I’m gonna get adopted today.”
Matching in red, Melissa Bradford and 6-month-old Daniel became a family.
“He’s doing wonderful,” she reported, her son in her lap. “He’s crawling, sitting up. He’s just quite the character, quite a blessing.”
Bradford, previously a foster parent, adopted Daniel through a private agency — Adoption Link in Yellow Springs.
“I didn’t want to miss out on being a mother,” she said.
Baby Piper got new parents on Thursday as well.
Kyle and Noel Mahan adopted their 6-month-old daughter through Adoption Link.
“How do you like being parents?” O’Diam asked the couple.
“It’s the best. It’s a dream come true,” said Noel. “She fits right in. It’s like she’s always been here.”
The couple smiled the whole hearing.
“She’s definitely our happily ever after,” Noel said as she left the courtroom. “We’ve been together for 20 years and we’ve been waiting for this moment.”
How to foster or adopt
“We are always looking for more adoptive and foster parents,” Beth Rubin, director of Greene County Department of Job and Family Services, said. “All children, regardless of age and circumstance, deserve a permanent and loving home. Today celebrates adoption while also bringing attention to the need for more families to grow in this way.”
According to Rubin, Greene County Children Services currently has 41 local licensed foster families. In 2018 in the county, 203 children were in foster care and 120 children were adopted.
“Families come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations,” Rubin said.
To learn more about how to become a foster or adoptive parent, call Greene County Children Services at 937-562-6600 and ask to speak to someone in the Foster Care Unit or Adoption Unit.
To learn about Adoption Link, call 937-767-2466 or text 937-974-1357 or visit adoptionlink.org.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498. Follow @annadbolton on Facebook.