Celebrating a different kind of National Adoption Month

Jackson Family

Press release from Florida Guardian ad Litem

BY KRISTEN SOLOMON, Statewide Director of Operations, Florida Guardian ad Litem Program

In the world of child protection, November is a special month. National Adoption Month represents the culmination of the work we do to help abused and neglected children find their places in safe, loving homes. 

Sometimes those homes are their own, when their parents succeed in reunifying the family. When that cannot be, we celebrate adoption as another way for children to find the homes they deserve.  

This year, due to COVID-19, our celebrations have been different, but no less heartfelt. We’ve seen thousands of online adoptions, and this month we’re cheering new forever families in car parades statewide. 

“I really would not have had it any other way,” says Alysha Jackson, whose family held the first Zoom adoption in Lake County from their kitchen in April. She and her husband Nathan adopted two precious children, then 1 and 2 years old. “Our entire family was able to attend – grandparents, great-grandparents…” Since most of the family lives in Indiana, not all would have been able to attend a traditional courthouse ceremony. 

The Jacksons also have kept in touch with the children’s biological family. Their aunt is thrilled she gets to see them. “You have to understand, a lot of the biological parents have just as much trauma as the children coming into your home,” Alysha says. 

She sings the praises of her adoption case manager, Chelsey Atkinson of Kids Central, and Nicole Cole, the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) who represented the children in dependency court. They always responded quickly to her “millions of questions.” And the Jacksons’ friends and church family stepped up, too, bringing food and babysitting.

“Everyone did their job really well,” she says.

“All too often, the child welfare system’s tragedies are the only events made known to the public,” says Marcia Hilty, the GAL circuit director for Lake County. “In this instance, the Jackson family’s actions represent the remarkable good being done here locally and throughout the state.”  

So we’re cheering not only for the forever families, but for the big-hearted people who make adoptions happen, both professionals and volunteers. We’ll see a lot of them in November, but they are in all our communities, working every day of the year, for which we should all be thankful.

More than 10,000 Floridians volunteer as Guardians ad Litem, working with program attorneys and social workers in teams to represent abused and neglected children in court and advocate for their best interests. To learn more about how you can impact a child’s life and become a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, please call 1-866-341-1425 or visit www.guardianadlitem.org.