There was a lot of hustle and bustle at the Historic Butler County Courthouse in Hamilton Saturday morning as nine children had their adoption cases finalized.
Each year, the Butler County Probate Court observes National Adoption Day with a special docket of adoption hearings presided over by Probate Judge Randy Rogers and/or Magistrate Heather Cady.
On Saturday, Cady presided over the hearings, which had plenty of observers for each case of family and other relatives and supporters were in the audience. Several of the adoptions were of children 12 and older. One of those older children, Brianna Lynn Asher, 14, was adopted by Pamela Perry, a single mother whose family grew by one to eight — four biological and four adoptive children. Perry was one of three single parents adopting children Saturday.
Officials said single parents make up about one-third of the 140 foster homes in Butler County.
During the hearing, Cady heard from a number of witnesses such as the county Children Services case worker, and Brianna’s new siblings who said they were grateful that she’ll be a permanent part of the family. Her biological brother Travis, who was adopted by another family and still maintains contact with his sister, said he was “very grateful” and that “this would be the best thing for her.”
The case worker said that she had the case for the past 11 months and sees the family weekly, noting that Brianna is taking on the role of being a big sister to her younger siblings as well always being able to go to Perry for things she needs. Brianna has been a foster child of Perry’s since April 2015. She said she decided more than a year ago to adopt Brianna.
“She just felt like one of my children,” Perry said.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better foster daughter,” Perry said. “She’s wonderful with the younger children.”
Perry said Brianna, an A-B student, could be mischievous at times.
When asked about the challenges of being a single mother with eight children, Perry said, “the hardest part is finding a vehicle large enough to transport everyone. I have wonderful children.”
While those who shared their observations with the court, Cady said it was important to know that this is something Brianna truly wants to do. After Brianna said yes and signed the forms, Cady declared that the adoption was going to be in the teen’s best interest. Cady also reminded Brianna that like a snowflake, no case or child is identical and that she always remember how special and unique she is. She presented a small gift, a snowflake ornament, to each child being adopted to remind them of that.
As with all children being adopted, Cady invited Brianna to tap the gavel to end the proceedings.
After the hearing, Brianna said she was looking forward to starting this new chapter in her life, adding, “I feel really good.”
Cady, who has been a probate court magistrate for the past two years, has presided over more than 30 adoption hearings. Prior to coming over to the probate court, she was a magistrate for 13 years in the county Common Pleas Court and presided over the county drug court.
“This is the greatest thing about being a magistrate and a lawyer,” Cady said. “You get to meet so many people and wonderful foster families who have opened their hearts and homes. I would gladly give up my Saturdays to do adoption hearings.”
She said after reading the case files and learning about the journeys of each child, it leaves her in awe of the families adopting them.
“It’s nice to do something that’s wonderful and joyous,” Cady said.
She said she has the easy job and said that the various caseworkers and foster families do the hardest part in the process.
Theresa Cooper, county Children Services adoption supervisor, said nearly 50 children have been adopted in 2017. She said there were 91 adoptions in 2016.
She said children 12 and older and sibling groups are challenging to be adopted. Cooper said about a third of the more than 130 children in permanent custody where parental rights have been terminated, are in that age range.
“We do our best to match the perfect family to the child,” she said. “We want to find the family that fits the needs of the child.”
Cooper said the agency is always looking for people to be foster parents or to adopt in Butler County. For more information, call 800-792-3854.