For Immediate Release - November 19, 2010

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION, TRIAL COURTS AND CHILD ADVOCATES CELEBRATE ADOPTIONS OF CHILDREN FROM FOSTER CARE

Adoption Ceremonies Part of 8th Annual National Adoption Day Celebration


Governor Deval Patrick celebrates National Adoption Day with children and families at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston. (Photo Credit: Isabel Slepoy/Governor's Office)

BOSTON -- Friday, November 19, 2010 - Six courthouses across the state today joined Governor Deval Patrick, the Department of Children and Families, the Massachusetts Trial Court's Juvenile Court Department and the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange in finalizing 149 adoptions of children from foster care as part of a statewide celebration of National Adoption Day.

"This special day celebrates a new beginning for so many Massachusetts children," said Governor Patrick. "It is wonderful that so many families have opened their hearts and homes to these deserving kids. A caring, stable environment will support and shape them for the rest of their lives."

This year marks Massachusetts' eighth celebration of annual National Adoption Day and will bring the total number of children adopted on this day to 1,432. Every November, dozens of judges, attorneys, adoption professionals and child advocates volunteer their time to finalize adoptions and celebrate all of the families who adopt. Today they celebrated 116 families who adopted 149 children, including some with disabilities and serious medical needs and sibling groups ranging in age from infants to adolescents.

"Today marks the beginning of an exciting journey for these children and families," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. "This celebration offers us an opportunity to take a moment to acknowledge what is most important - the gift of family."

"We are so thankful that so many families have responded to that heartfelt question 'should we consider adoption?' Those decisions will change the lives of these children," said Angelo McClain, Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families. "We encourage and hope that other individuals and families will consider adoption."

Adoptions were finalized today in:

Boston (Edward W. Brooke Courthouse): 38 children will be adopted by 29 families
Brockton (George N. Covett Courthouse): 24 children will be adopted by 21 families
Hadley (Franklin/Hampshire Juvenile Court): 19 children will be adopted by 15 families
Salem (Essex County Juvenile Court): 10 children will be adopted by 7 families
Springfield (Hampden County Juvenile Court): 18 children will be adopted by 13 families
Worcester (Worcester Trial Court): 40 children will be adopted by 31 families.

"For those of us in the juvenile court, it is our happiest day," said the Honorable Marjory German, Associate Justice of the Suffolk County Juvenile Court. "The children adopted today are the treasures of the Juvenile Court, and our hearts are with them. What we want for all these children is to have every chance that our own children have."

"MARE is very proud to be a sponsor of this great day," said Lisa Funaro, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange. "In addition to legalizing the adoptions of almost 150 children, today's celebration is an opportunity to highlight the need here in Massachusetts for more families to come forward to adopt children."

While National Adoption Day is a moment to celebrate the hope of a child and the willingness of a family to open their home, it is also an opportunity to highlight the ongoing need for loving adoptive families for children from foster care.

There are currently more than 8,000 children in Massachusetts who are waiting in the foster care system and are legally and permanently separated from their biological parents. Through no fault of their own, these children have entered foster care because of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. Unless they are connected with adoptive parents, they will not only lose the opportunity for basic family joys and family activities that are so often taken for granted but they will also be at an increased risk for being undereducated, unemployed, homeless and/or involved in substance abuse or criminal activity.

For more information about adopting through the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, please call 1-800-KIDS-508 or log on to www.mass.gov/dcf and click on "Adoption" found on the left hand side of the screen under "Programs and Services."

National Adoption Day in Massachusetts is made possible each year through the collaboration of the Juvenile Court Department, the Probate and Family Court Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) and local adoption agencies.

About National Adoption Day
The first major effort to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system occurred in Massachusetts. In 1976, then-Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed Adoption Week and the idea grew in popularity and spread throughout the nation. President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation, and in 1990, the week was expanded to a month due to the number of states participating and the number of events. National Adoption Day is now a national effort to raise awareness of the 114,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families.

About MARE
MARE is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1957 to find "a permanent place to call HOME" for CHILDREN in foster care, including sibling groups and children who are traditionally harder to place. We do this by recruiting, educating, supporting and advocating for FAMILIES throughout the adoption process. For more information on adopting a child from foster care, contact MARE at 617-54-ADOPT (617-542-3678) or visit www.mareinc.org.

About the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
The Department of Children and Families is charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect and strengthening families. There are currently 8,000 children in foster care across Massachusetts and 40,095 children in all served by the Department. With the understanding that every child is entitled to a home that is free from abuse and neglect, DCF's vision is to ensure the safety of children in a manner that holds the best hope of nurturing a sustained, resilient network of relationships to support the child's growth and development into adulthood. DCF programs include foster care, adoption, adolescent services and domestic violence services.

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