The adoption process is recognized and honored by the Stark County Children Services Division, which held a celebration gathering.
CANTON Prior to last year, Kali Muckley was a roving foster child, moving from home to home.
But in 2016, the 18-year-old formally became part of “his forever family,” said Billie Muckley of Marlboro Township, his adoptive mother.
The pair were among those who gathered late last week to celebrate National Adoption Month with the Children Services Division of Stark County Job & Family Services.
“This is a celebration for all the families that have adopted children in the past 12 months,” said Nedra Petro, deputy director for the Children Services Division.
“We recruit and train foster parents. The state of Ohio licenses them. They sometimes wind up adopting children that are placed in their home. There are some people who come into the process knowing they want to adopt. Generally speaking, the kids that we work with in this agency are from Stark County.”
Children Services petitions the Stark County Probate Court to approve adoptions in this county.
Billie Muckley and her husband, Ed, have adopted four children.
“We also have four biological (children),” Billie Muckley said. “The Lord has given us a love for children. Actually, we weren’t going to adopt. We were just going to foster. But we fell in love with them.”
The other adopted children in the family are Danny Muckley, 13, who is Kali Muckley’s biological brother, and 7-year-old twins Nathan Muckley and Natali Muckley. Other than Kali Muckley, the other children were adopted while infants. Kali Muckley’s adoption came during his teenage years.
“I think it is great,” said Kali Muckley, who attends Lake High School. “We are out in the country.”
During 2016, Stark County Children Services finalized 80 adoptions. So far this year, the agency has processed more than 70.
Kali Muckley “has been in foster homes all over,” Billie Muckley said. “He has been in Cleveland, he has been in Akron.”
Joining the National Adoption Month celebration was Stark County Probate Judge Dixie Park.
“There are over 200 statutory duties in the Probate County,” Park said. “It (adoption) is my favorite, it really is. I just love children.”
The gathering was an informal affair with a photo booth and refreshments.
“There are many, many reasons people choose to adopt,” Petro said. “It is astonishing to me how generous and selfless people are. We have an amazing group of parents that we have come to know through this process.”
There are at least 2 million children and adolescents who have been adopted and living with their families in the United States, according to the National Council for Adoption, a Washington, D.C.,-area-based group that advocates for the adoption process. There are about 110,000 children adopted annually in the United States. That figure includes children adopted from this nation as well as those from foreign countries who are brought into America through adoption.
“Adoption touches a lot of lives,” said Charles “Chuck” Johnson, president of National Council for Adoption. “It is considered good social policy. We know children deserve a family. The outcomes of children who age out of foster care most often is a tragic outcome. So getting these kids a family is a national priority.”
The No. 1 source of international adoptions coming to the United States is China. Other nations where children are frequently coming into the United States for adoption purposes are Ukraine, India, Ethiopia, South Korea and Haiti, according to Johnson.
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