Four area families are enriched with new additions as a result of National Adoption Day, celebrated last Friday in Monroe County Family Court.
For Mike McCarthy, one of two guest speakers, things have come full circle. He talked about being adopted by the McCarthy family as a child, and then watched as his son and daughter-in-law, Edward and Kristine McCarthy, signed documents to adopt a little girl, his new 6-month-old granddaughter Julia.
McCarthy welcomed the child into “a great family” and told her how really glad they were to have her.
A curious Joshua Kaminski, 1, captured the eyes of many in the courtroom as he leaned over the railing and nibbled on his new Adoption Day gavel pencil, wearing a little dress shirt, bow tie and suspenders. He was adopted by Jason and Joy Kaminski.
Also adopted was Dominic, by Teresa and Brandon Conner; and Mariah, by Chan and David Ferris, the brother-in-law of Family Court Judge Joseph G. Nesser, who signed off on the adoption papers, adding a special touch to a special day while welcoming his new niece.
Joining Judge Nesser in officiating the ceremony at the Hall of Justice was his colleague, Family Court Judge Dandrea L. Ruhlmann. She presented recognition certificates to Sonia Hahn, an adoption caseworker, for her “significant efforts in working to achieve permanency for children in Monroe County,” and Patricia Slimmer, a court appointed special advocate for children, for her “dedication and commitment to the children of Monroe County.”
The other guest speaker was Brittany Jencik, who talked about her large family of biological and adopted children, including 9-year-old Talia, an adopted Down syndrome child she called the sweetest and brightest girl they ever met. Talia charmed the audience with her vibrant smile.
National Adoption Day, now in its 15th year, is celebrated in hundreds of courtrooms across the country to raise awareness of the 101,000 foster children legally freed for adoption and waiting for a family.
An Adoption Day proclamation, on behalf of Monroe County and the city of Rochester, was read by Kelly Reed, commissioner of the county Department of Human Services, and Jermayne Myers, executive assistant to Mayor Lovely A. Warren.
Don Alhart, news anchor, 13WHAM ABC, served as master of ceremonies.
– Photos by Vasiliy Baziuk