The Kings County Family Court hosted its own Adoption Day ceremony on Nov. 16 in Downtown Brooklyn where it celebrated the more than 300 adoptions that have been processed in the borough this year.
The program is in conjunction with National Adoption Day which takes place every year in November. It started with nine events in the year 2000 and has grown to more than 400 cities in the country and was responsible for finalizing nearly 65,000 adoptions in 2016.
“Each November, National Adoption Month brings together all of us who are dedicated to creating forever families for children and presents us with the opportunity to celebrate and honor all of you,” said Hon. Amanda White, supervising judge of the Family Court. “For the last 17 years, National Adoption Day has brought together courts, judges, attorneys, advocates, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies with the sole purpose of making dreams come true for thousands of foster children by finalizing their adoptions.”
In Brooklyn, it’s a day set aside for finalizing adoptions, 40 were finalized on Thursday, and for celebrating with the families who have been brought together by the court all year long, approximately 320 so far this year. The program is put together by Adoption Day Committee co-chairs Hon. Javier Vargas and Hon. Judith Waksberg.
To speak with the children and families in attendance, the Family Court invited in David A. Hansell, commissioner from NYC Administration of Children’s Services, and John A. Diaz, an attorney who lived in the foster care system who was later adopted himself and currently runs his own private practice.
“It’s a wonderful time to celebrate Adoption Day,” said Hansell, who added that there were 899 adoptions in NYC in 2016. “This time of the year is nice to do it because it’s the holiday season, which is all about family.
“It’s also an important time to raise awareness among other folks who may be thinking about adopting. We still have many, many wonderful children in foster care waiting for permanent homes. We want to encourage anyone thinking about adoption to come forward.”
Diaz had trouble fighting back tears when he recalled memories of his mother, who passed away when he was just 5 years old, and how hard it was for him growing up. He came with a message for the kids: Hardship isn’t always a bad thing.
“It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through in your life,” Diaz said. “You can achieve anything you set your mind to. You have to stop looking at things as being a disadvantage. Don’t spend your time focusing on things you don’t have.
“The fact that I had to go through all of those things in my life made me the person I am today, I learned resiliency, I learned how to overcome adversity,” he continued. “Now I look at it as a good thing. When I’m in federal court against adversaries who went to Harvard Law School and work at big law firms, the minute something goes wrong they start to sweat and don’t know what to do. Me, I say, ‘Bring it on.’”