230 Children in NJ Will Be Adopted By Loving Families This Week
This week in the state's courthouses, families and officials will celebrate the adoption of 230 children ahead of National Adoption Day on Nov. 23.
The annual celebration was started 20 years ago by Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, a foster child whose foundation has raised millions to support adoption.
The day allows foster care parents, caregivers and relatives to adopt children who have had their parental rights terminated. The annual event allows courts and communities to come together to finalize thousands of adoptions across the country.
The adoption process begins with a parent filing an application with the court to adopt a child. After the court examines the parents and their stability, if the child is over the age of 7, the court will ask the child if he or she wants to be adopted.
The court then issues an order terminating the parental rights and allowing that particular family to adopt that child. There is a judgment of adoption, which is filed with the state Department of State. Often, the adoptive child will change his or her birth surname to that of the adoptive parent.
"This is one of the most rewarding and memorable legal actions that take place in our court system. You have people who are opening their doors, their houses, their apartments, their homes to these children," said Glenn Grant, the administrative director of the state Judiciary.
Last year, 1,058 children were adopted in New Jersey.
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Some parents are adopting more than one child. Sometimes they're adopting special-needs children. Grant said that this shows the kindness of the human spirit: People are willing to step in and become surrogate parents.
Grant said this is one of the best things to happen in the unfortunate circumstance where parents have had their rights terminated because they failed to address their responsibilities.
"Now, after some period of time, the child is being permanently united with a family that is providing love and care and attention to that child," Grant said.