Local Family Adopts, Fosters More Than 30 Kids in 6 Years: Adoption Event in Leon County Today

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Florida Department of Children and Families Release

Tallahassee, FL - Leon County celebrated National Adoption Day in a very special way today.

Nearly a dozen children and their new families had reason to get excited.

These children became adopted into their families during an adoption ceremony at the Leon County Courthouse.

Anna Johnson says, "we have happy families, happy children, a happy judge, it's just truly a happy, happy day."

Linda Bedell and Savannah Skye Walker are two people who became united.

Savannah is a teenager who had been staying with her grandmother.

When her grandmother died, Linda came to the rescue.

Linda Bedell says, "I'm very excited, Savannah's been part of my life her whole life and so this is like a dream come true"

Savannah Skye Walker says, "I'm really excited about being adopted, actually by someone who is like family to me"

Many statewide and local organizations are responsible for making these adoptions possible.

The month of November has been pegged as National Adoption Month.

Toddlers Eric and Kimani became a part of their forever family through the foster parents who have cared for them almost since birth.

Three young ladies – Jordana, Shelby and Shealin – were adopted by their older sister, Alexis, amidst many tears.

These are just a few of the other family stories from today’s National Adoption Month event.

The Wizard of Oz-themed celebration, entitled “There’s No Place Like Home,” brought 11 children into seven permanent families.

“Today is a wonderful day. This is what makes our efforts to help children and families in need all worthwhile,” said Suzanne Vitale, DCF Deputy Secretary. “There are still 750 children in Florida who are waiting for their forever family, and today’s event gives us hope that each one of them will find their home.”

Several awards were also given out at today’s event:

Angels in Adoption Award: Chris and Louisa Williams, local adoptive parents.

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Angels in Adoption Award: The Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, nominated by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Adoptive Parents of the Year: Brian and Shannon Carroll, who have five children adopted from foster care, ranging in age from 15 months to 10 years.

The Department of Children and Families, the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection and our community-based partners across the state celebrate “30 Days of Amazing Children: Explore Adoption!” each November.

A newly redesigned website at www.adoptflorida.org highlights a different amazing child or sibling group in foster care each day of the month with photos and videos.

The children most in need of homes are teens, sibling groups and children with special needs whose biggest dream is to be part of a permanent family.

Last year, 3,250 children were adopted from Florida’s foster care system.

That was the fifth year in a row that more than 3,000 children were adopted from foster care, bringing the total to more than 17,000.

Florida’s children come into foster care through no fault of their own but because they were abused, neglected or abandoned.

While private adoption can cost more than $30,000, adopting one of Florida’s children in foster care costs little or nothing.

The benefits include a monthly adoption subsidy for the family, health benefits for the child, and free college tuition at a Florida public university, community college or vocational school.

Tallahassee, FL - November 14, 2012 - Karen and Everett Condry are one of the many families in Tallahassee that have opened their hearts to give children a second chance at having a loving family and a place to call home. The Condry’s feel “the youth that come through your home they are always a part of your family. There are a lot of kids who are not in a good situation and we want them to be in better situations and we know there are a lot of families out there that can put them in very good situations.”

According to the Department of Children and Families, since January 1, 2012, 40 children have been adopted from foster care in Leon County. Tanya Wilkins, the Governor’s Child Advocate for Foster Care and Child Adoption for the State of Florida says “what we found over the last several years, especially over the last year is we have so many children that needs homes and so one way of getting homes is to highlight foster parents, and in foster parents, 40 percent of them end up adopting.”

The Condry's have 3 biological children and in the past 6 years have fostered or adopted more than 30 kids. Karen Condry says “it makes me feel good to know I'm still Mom, he's still Dad, you know they have their biological family and we don't try to take that away from them, but just to know I have two Mom's and I have two Dad's. It's like a lot of people to love them.” The goal of National Adoption Month is to recruit families interested in fostering or adopting. Currently 750 Florida children are in need of a permanent family to call their own. Wilkins says “these children are beautiful children and they come with some history, but they are gorgeous inside and out and they just so want that family that's going to give them a home and just love and nurture them.”

If a child is adopted after going through the program or have been in foster care for over six months, they are eligible to have their college education paid for at any state school in Florida. Wilkins admits “our call is, is that for these wonderful parents out there that love and want to provide the support and encourage their education.” When the Condry's are asked how long they plan to continue fostering and adopting, they say “I don't see us stopping anytime as Karen said she wants a bigger house to do more and that's what we're going to do.”

An adoption event and reception will be held today at 2:00pm at the Leon County Courthouse located at :

301 South Monroe Street, Courtroom 3G
Tallahassee, FL 32301

For more information on fostering or adopting a child, call 800-96-ADOPT or go to www.fosteringflorida.com or www.adoptflorida.org On these websites you can look at all the children available for adoption and DCF can make arrangements to help you with the process of adopting and fostering a child.

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