STANDISH — Adoption hearings in Arenac County are typically closed-door affairs, but the public will be able to witness the emotional events when the county participates in Michigan Adoption Day for the first time Nov. 21.
Juvenile Register Heather Stroh said each November is designated as National Adoption Month, and the state appoints an adoption day every year. Stroh said she wanted the county to participate in order to shed light on the need for foster and adoptive homes. There are currently 28 children in foster care in the county and nine awaiting adoption.
“There are a lot of kids in foster care in Arenac County and there are a lot of kids who are waiting to be adopted in Arenac County,” she said. “My hope for this event is to raise awareness for two things. One, for the need for foster homes. We’re pretty fortunate for how many we have in the county, but I’m also hoping we can encourage people to consider adoption, also.”
The event will give people the chance to see adoptions being finalized, which is not common, Stroh said.
“There will be a welcome address and speech from Judge (Richard) Vollbach,” she said. (The Department of Health and Human Services) and the court together are going to present an award to an exemplary foster/adoptive home. We have two adoption hearings scheduled. Those are not normally open to the public, but these two families have agreed to allow us to open the courtroom for this event.”
Stroh said witnessing an adoption can be very emotional and uplifting.
“I cry every time,” she said. “Most of the time the families are crying. If the kids are little bit older the judge may take testimony from them.”
Following the adoption hearings, a reception with cake and cookies and drinks is planned, Stroh said. The reception is also open to the public.
The event is scheduled to run from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the 23rd Circuit Courtroom in the Arenac County building.