Lifestyle

Love, adoptions grow in Island County

Bridget and Randy Thayer coo over their newly adopted daughter. Maddy will celebrate her first birthday next week.  - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Bridget and Randy Thayer coo over their newly adopted daughter. Maddy will celebrate her first birthday next week.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Four lucky kids found their way into permanent, loving homes Friday. The union of parents and children took place at Island County Superior Court, where the historically closed-court adoption proceedings were open to the public in honor of National Adoption Day.

“This is one of my favorite days each year,” said Jan Stettler, supervisor of the Child Welfare unit of Children’s Administration before the proceedings began. “These children came into state custody because of problems with their biological families.”

Those families, she said, made the very difficult decision to give their children to the state so they may have a better life with another family.

In some cases, those children may find their way back to family ties, as did 8-year-old Chandra and her sister, 6-year-old Jaylee, who were adopted by their grandparents, Linda and Clarence Wallace.

“It’s been a long road,” Linda said at a party following the event. “It’s a closing of one book and an opening to another.”

The Wallace family invited family and friends from Marysville to help them celebrate at the adoption ceremony.

“This is just part of our village,” Linda told Judge Alan Hancock as she pointed to the extended clan in the courtroom.

The next couple were Cherry and Gregory Tryon who added 4-year-old Johnny to their family, which also includes a grown child, two other foster children and four granddaughters.

“He’s a little confused, but excited,” Gregory said of little Johnny.

Last but not least, Bridget and Randy Thayer adopted Maddy, who will celebrate her first birthday next Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The Thayers are no stranger to the Island County adoption process. Their family also includes three biological and six adopted children ranging in age from almost one to 25-years-old.

“This is by far our biggest group,” Hancock said. “I hope that’s a reflection of our efforts.”

Island County’s foster child count nearly doubled from 2008 to 2009. Last year, 11 children found forever homes, Hancock said. So far this year, 21 children have been adopted. And there’s still one month left before 2010.

Where the children are

• As of Jan. 1, 2009, there were 9,546 children who lived in foster care or relative placement homes in Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Children’s Administration.

• From July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009, there were a record 1,701 foster children adopted to new homes in Washington. In an average year about 1,150 foster children are adopted.

• The median stay in foster care for children living in Washington is less than two years. Nationwide, it’s more than three years.

• Private adoption costs can range from $4,000 to $40,000, while foster child adoptions are generally limited to attorney fees.

Adoption resources

• DSHS Children’s Administration adoption information web page: http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/ca/adopt/index.asp

• Families for Kids, provides information and training to potential adoptive parents: http://www.lcsnw.org/ffk/index.html, or call 888-794-1794

• Northwest Adoption Exchange, information and services for adoption of special needs children: www.nwae.org, 800-927-9411,

• Foster Parent Association of Washington: www.fpaws.org/, or call 800-391-2273.

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