PREBLE COUNTY — November is National Adoption Month and Preble County celebrated with a proclamation from the county commissioners and an adoption eventon Monday, Nov. 6.
The month of recognition is meant to bring awareness to the need for families wanting to share their love with a child, according to Director of Job and Family Services Becky Sorrell.
“Preble County Children Services, in collaboration with Preble County Juvenile Court, held an adoption celebration day today, recognizing all the families who adopted children from Preble County Children Services in 2017. Five children were adopted into three families today bringing our total number of children adopted in 2017 to 11,” she said.
“There are currently 102 Preble County children currently residing in foster homes or other out-of-home placements, and 32 Preble County children waiting to be adopted into loving families. It is important to remember that older children and teens need families too.”
“Fourteen of the 32 children waiting to be adopted are 13 years old or older,” Sorrell said. “Those 14 children have been waiting for permanent homes for an average of three years, three months and one week. Providing an older child with lifelong positive connections is one of life’s greatest gifts. These children can succeed and reach their full potential when they are prepared for adoption and their voices are heard. No child should linger in foster care or leave the system at any age without a permanent, loving family of their own.”
The day of celebration opened with the Preble County Commissioners presenting Sorrell with a proclamation declaring November as National Adoption Month. Following the recognition, Sorrell headed upstairs to watch the three different adoption proceedings.
Not only were three families made whole, but families who had previously adopted in 2017 were presented with gifts and recognized for their role in improving a child’s life.
One family who adopted their two children on Monday said the adoption was unexpected for them, but ultimately a joy.
“They are well-loved and have been a part of our family since day one — we just never thought we would be adopting,” the mother said. “We found out about them and wanted to adopt, because they needed a home and we wanted to have kids, but couldn’t, so we were more than happy to make them a part of our family.
“Adoption is being chosen into a family and I think everybody deserves to have a family and it is something that God does for us – he chooses us and makes us a part of his family. We plan on telling them that they’re adopted so it’s something that they’ll always know. As they get older they will understand more what that means.”
Another family said they had been trying to adopt for seven years, before finally finding their two daughters. Greg and Sherran Ruhl adopted their girls on Monday, through grins and happy tears.
“We decided we wanted to adopt about seven years ago, but we both knew it would be too hard to foster. We knew it would be hard to give them back. It has taken us seven years and the girls actually came into the picture unexpectedly. They weren’t even in the system yet,” Greg Ruhl said.
“Within just a few weeks we were doing visitations. That was November of last year and in February of this year they finally moved in with us. The process moved really quick.”
As for their long wait for adoption, Ruhl said that the wait did get discouraging, but they made it through with strong family and church support.
“Finally I can say they’re mine,” he added. “Even though I don’t remember it, because I was a lot younger, I was adopted. So, I know what that unconditional love feels like. I just knew it was something I needed to pass on. There are a lot of kids out there who need good homes.”
One of the families who adopted earlier in the year had a rougher journey than most, but describes their daughter as “the love of [their] lives.”
“We got her the day she was born and she was the love of my life from that point,” the mother said. “She was diagnosed with cancer 10 days before her first birthday. We fought through that battle and we won the battle of adoption. We adopted back in March, so she’s been ours for awhile, but she was ours since day one. We always felt it was never anything different — she was always ours.
“We had just finished the foster care process 10 days before when we got the call she had been born. Adoption is important to me because we have suffered from infertility problems. It was another way to give a child the life they deserve, since they have no choice in what they are born into.”
As for the Preble County system, the mother said, “Preble County does the best that I have seen. They try and do everything by the book and make sure that every ‘T’ is crossed and every ‘I’ is dotted, so there is no problem. They are family to us.”
Michelle added her daughter, Baylee, to her family in February of 2016, but didn’t officially adopted until March of 2017. She already had daughters Lily and Abby, who are now protective and loving big sisters to Baylee.
“We started fostering and we said that we were not going to adopted the first children who came into our home and that was Baylee. She was seven when we got her and we knew we were going to adopt her pretty quick. We fostered to adopt,” Michelle said.
“You have to take classes and you have to be certified. Then it is just a waiting game. They call and ask if you want to foster. Ours was easy, because we didn’t have visits. She didn’t talk to us for two weeks and she didn’t talk to Abby for three to four weeks.
“It was daunting and we were wondering if we were doing things right or wrong. It took a lot of patience. I didn’t expect it to feel any different when she was ours, because she had already been in our house for a year, but it did feel different.”
Abby added, “It just felt better. You finally have a missing piece of a puzzle. You try so hard to look for the piece, but its not there, and when you finally put it together you finally see the bigger picture. Its just perfect.”
“During our adoption celebration today, Preble County Children Services presented each family with a double picture frame with their child’s new name, date of birth, date they moved into the family’s home, and date they became officially and permanently a part of their new family,” Sorrell added. “Kimberly Towe from Kimberly Nichole Photography took photos of each family to complete the frames. Each family was also provided with a Shutterfly gift card to print the pictures of their new family.
“You don’t have to be a perfect parent to adopt a child, you just have to love a child,” Sorrell said. “Anyone interested in adoption or the adoption process can contact Preble County Children Services at 937-456-1135 option 4.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH