Raising awareness on National Adoption Day

Grays Harbor County Superior Court hosted a celebration of National Adoption Day on Nov. 17, when two area families added new members. The event mirrored similar ones that took place across the country that day.

Superior Court Judge Stephen Brown, who presided over the proceedings, said the event’s purpose is to bring attention to adoption — and especially adoption out of the state foster care system.

“It’s really important that that’s emphasized and celebrated,” he said, adding that he wanted to recognize both the adoptive parents and the various social workers involved throughout the process.

Prior to the adoptions officially taking place, the several dozen in attendance heard from guest speaker Alethea Keith-Pyhala and her adopted daughter, Maya Pyhala. The pair noted various prominent historical and contemporary figures who were adopted, including several U.S. presidents.

Aberdeen-area residents Stacy and Dennis Parish, who are now proud parents of three adopted children — Emalie, Lucy and Anthony — were among the two families adopting. Stacy Parish said the adoption process had taken a long two-and-a-half years and that she was glad to see it finalized.

“If people are considering adoption, just stick with it,” she said. “It’s worth it. When you think you can’t do it anymore, just remember there are people out there who have been through this, who have gone through this, and just take one day at a time.”

Heather Peek of Tumwater adopted a son, Nathaniel, at the event.

“It is such a blessing to us that we’ve been chosen to be a forever family to the kids that we’ve been able to adopt into my family,” she said.

Though it was Peek’s first time adopting, she has two adopted brothers and an adopted nephew. All came from foster care through the courthouse in Montesano, she said.

“I would encourage everyone to be open to the idea of doing foster care,” she said. She added that it’s a joy to see children grow and flourish just by having a safe and loving family environment.

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