SILVER CITY — It was a celebration to honor some of the most selfless people — foster and adoptive parents. But for the kids, it was all about the cake — and the balloons — because what's a party without cake and balloons.
But for the staff at the Department of Children Youth and Families, it was about thanking those who have stepped forward and become foster and adoptive parents to children who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves in the foster care system. While the goal of CYFD is to return children to their families, sometimes that isn't possible.
Families and staff members gathered in a conference room at the CYFD Office on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate their journeys to becoming families.
Shari Cosentino, CYFD regional placement supervisor for Region 5, welcomed the families and talked a little about National Adoption Month.
In 1976, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced an adoption week to promote awareness of the for adoptive families for children in foster care. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared a national adoption week, and in 1995, President Clinton declared it the entire month of November. Today, National Adoption Month is celebrated in all 50 states, Cosentino said.
She talked a little about famous people who were adopted — a list that includes notable figures all the way back as the philosopher Aristotle, to famous musicians, authors, poets, playwrights, comedians, actors, inventors, athletes, politicians, figure skaters, and even a Miss USA.
"But it's really all about the kids and you as families," she told the crowd of parents and wiggling children and shy teenagers.
Foster Parent liaison Anita Roberts put together a CD of songs that "speaks to the love within families" Cosentino said, and each family was given a CD and each of the children in finalized adoptions got to take turns choosing an "adoption bear" to take home with them.
The office celebrated five completed adoptions this year, with other children in foster care waiting for adoption.
After the presentation, everyone got to indulge in cake and juice while the kids and families wrote wishes on small strips of paper. The wishes were then tied to balloons and the crowd gathered outside to release them in hopes that every child waiting for a forever home will find one.
Today, thousands of children across the country are waiting for forever homes. They are showcased in the Heart Gallery at http://www.heartgalleryofamerica.org.
To find out how to become a foster parent, contact CYFD at 1-877-533-0198 or the Silver City office at (575) 538-2945.
Christine Steele can be reached at (575) 538-5893 ext. 5802.