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Two Whidbey Island families forged on National Adoption Day
Four-year-old Madison wanted to know when she’d be able to join Lisa Knott’s family.
“She’s been asking me for a year if she’s going to be my little girl,” Knott said.
“I’m just glad now I can tell her ‘yes.’”
Knott, her husband Keith, and their five other children took Madison into their home as a foster child two and a half years ago. The process of making her a permanent part of the family has been long, but it concluded Friday at an adoption ceremony in Coupeville.
Friday’s adoption proceedings, which highlighted two Island County adoptions, were scheduled in connection with National Adoption Day, which aims to raise awareness of children in foster care waiting for permanent homes.
The two families join 11 other Island County homes that adopted children during 2013.
The Knotts said they decided to adopt Madison, and two of their other children, as a family.
“It’s something that was in my heart for a long time,” Knott said. “After a family discussion, we agreed fostering would be something we wanted to do.”
That choice was bittersweet.
“It’s been one of the hardest things we have ever done, but one of the best,” Knott said.
Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock, who presided over the adoptions, said there are approximately 400,000 children in the United States seeking permanent homes. He said that 48 million families have considered adoption or foster care, a far greater number than those approaching private adoption agencies.
While the adoption process has been streamlined in recent years, Washington state still struggles to find enough foster and adoptive parents.
Hancock concluded his comments Friday with a plea: “We need foster parents in this country.
“The system is far better than it was. We fight the good fight. But to the extent that you can, ask others to be a part of it,” he said.
Myron Egbers, a foster home licenser with the state Department of Social and Health Services, said she agrees that, while the process has been streamlined, the requirements continue to get more stringent which may make it more difficult for some families to get certified.
“A lot of families who want to do it, the process is a difficult one to get through,” Hancock said. “With our focus on child safety, it can be hard for parents to get certified.”
For that reason, he said, the need for good, willing foster parents is great.
Carole Stuart and her husband, David, adopted their 10-year-old granddaughter, Jasmine, during Friday’s proceedings.
Stuart said the change was difficult in some ways for Jasmine, but that they are grateful for the support of teachers and counselors who have helped her through the process.
“She has transitioned through a tough time,” Stuart said. “But she is a wonderful girl. She just needed a place to blossom.”
Christina Urtasun, a foster care and adoption liaison for the Fostering Together Program, said it’s common for grandparents to step in and take over the care of grandchildren when the parents are unable, or unwilling, to provide for them.
Urtasun adopted her now 11-year-old daughter Anna eight years ago on National Adoption Day.
Because Urtasun went through the process, she offers insight to help other prospective adoptive parents.
“I feel like I understand the process and can relate to the frustrations and can celebrate the successes,” she said.
“It can be intimidating.”
“There are a lot of myths. I’m here to ease the uncertainty.”
A parenting orientation class is set 4:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the state Department of Social and Health Services Oak Harbor office, 275 Pioneer Way, No. 310.
For information about adopting, visit www.nationaladoptionday.org.