Five-year-old Anthony and 8-year-old Elijah were adopted on Nov. 23, National Adoption Day. Their parents are Antoinnette and James Poindexter, residents of Lorton. They have been foster parents to the boys for three years.
“We ran a basketball program for about 12 years, the Alexandria Aces” said James Poindexter. “During that time, we took kids all over the country to play basketball, and we realized how many children don’t have parental support. We got involved in that program when our son started playing basketball and we wanted to support him. We became foster parents because we wanted to help other kids that weren’t so lucky.”
The Poindexters lived in the Mount Vernon area throughout the time they ran the "Aces". Players from Mt. Vernon High School, West Potomac High School and Hayfield Secondary School thought of them as surrogate parents.
The couple works with Alexandria’s Department of Human Services. “When Anthony and Elijah came to us, we just immediately took to them and they took to us,” said Antoinnette Poindexter. “We just knew that we wanted to adopt them and make them a permanent part of our family, and that’s happening today.”
The Poindexters have three children of their own – James has a daughter by a previous marriage and the couple has two sons. Carlos is 21 and a junior at Virginia State University. “Ever since they came to live with us, they have been my brothers,” he said. “The adoption ceremony won’t make that any different.”
Tawnya Brown explained about National Adoption Day. “About a year and a half ago, Judge (Stephen) Rideout came to our Model Courts Project and suggested that we participate in National Adoption Day,” she said. “This is the second year that we have done so. We did our first Adoption Saturday in May 2002, and we hope to do two a year. We decided to do it that way because we don’t want the families to be in such a large group; we want them to feel special.”
There was not just a symbolic ceremony. The judges signed eight final orders of adoption, making the adoptions official. Judge Nolan Dawkins has seen Anthony and Elijah every six months since they came into foster care. “This is a wonderful day,” he said. “You hear so much about the downsides, but not so much about the really great outcomes. These families, like the Poindexters, are truly wonderful to make themselves available to these children. This is a wonderful day.”
“This is such a great occasion because it gives us all an opportunity to celebrate with these families and see these kids who maybe haven’t had such an easy time, get a sense of permanency and feel that they are loved,” Beverly Steele, acting director of the city’s Department of Human Services, said.
Anthony and Elijah weren’t so sure what the fuss was all about. They didn’t know exactly what “being adopted” meant, but they did know who James and Antoinnette Poindexter are. “Mommy and Daddy,” both boys said.