She sings beautifully, pulling off a rendition of the hit song “Home.” She also gives a pretty impressive speech that tugs at the heartstrings.
But what Caitlynn Dupont, 11, doesn’t have is the worry and fear that she will be moved again. Caitlynn was one of seven children ranging in age from 11 months to 15 years old who were adopted by six families Friday during an adoption ceremony in Monroe County Family Court.
“Adoption means I can reach for my dreams and be loved,” Caitlynn told her parents, Joelle and Adam Dupont, and other children and families in attendance. “After all, every kid deserves love and a family.”
The ceremony marked the observance of National Adoption Day on Saturday, which highlights the inordinate number of children in foster care waiting to be adopted.
Monroe County Family Court Judge Dandrea L. Ruhlmann said children in foster care have one thing in common.
“They’ve had to leave their homes and they have lost what most of us have taken for granted,” Judge Ruhlmann said. “That is, loving and nurturing parents.”
Of the more than 100,000 children in foster care, about 44,500 have been adopted, according to Family Court Judge Joseph G. Nesser. More than 29,000 are currently in the state foster care system, and 7,600 are awaiting families. On average, a child can wait five years before he or she is adopted, and 1,500 are never adopted.
“Adoption is one of the few truly happy events that occur in Monroe County Family Court,” Judge Nesser said.
Just ask Skye Sullivan, 5, who was adopted by Dianne and Jerry Sullivan. Skye did an impromptu dance for the crowd and even managed to borrow the microphone from emcee and TV anchorman Don Alhart to shout out how happy she was.
She wasn’t the only one.
Alan and Christopher Girangaya officially welcomed Breanna, 9, to their family — a great and wonderful experience, they said, after a trying ordeal.
The Girangayas, who have three other children, have been waiting with feelings of stress, fear and anxiety for a year to adopt Breanna, who was a baby when she left her mother’s care in 2004. This year she moved in with her “forever dads,” brother, Mason, 3, and sister, Cadence, 4.
Upon seeing their daughter wearing a Hawaiian dress that reflects her father’s heritage, and finally inking their names to the adoption papers, feelings of love were all that was left.
“It’s a new beginning,” Girangaya said.
10th anniversary ceremony
Monroe County Family Court marked its 10th anniversary of the adoption ceremony that calls attention to National Adoption Day, which is in its 13th year.
As part of the ceremony, Mary Aufleger, of the Child Welfare Court Improvement Project, New York State Unified Court System, was recognized with a certificate of appreciation for her dedication and passion in organizing each of the celebrations.
Aufleger thanked the judges, staff and Department of Human Services for their work in helping kids find homes.
“They’re awesome,” she said.