Loudoun County is made up of all different types of families. On Sunday, Nov. 18, the county celebrated Adoption Day for families who have successfully adopted children and for families who are going through the process of adoption at the Courthouse in Leesburg.
Eight local families who recently adopted children were honored by Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Pamela L. Brooks, Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne and Juvenile and Domestic Court Chief Judge Avelina Jacob during a private ceremony the morning of Sunday, Nov. 18.
After the ceremony, the veteran families helped answer questions and share their adoption experiences to interested families at an Adoption Day fair.
There were several adoption agencies on hand to answer questions about the complicated process.
FRANCINE BEVERAGE works for the Department of Department of Family Services. She set up a table Sunday to answer families’ questions about the adoption process and other ways to help children who need homes.
"A lot of people are intimidated by the process," she said. "It is tough, but we’re here to help."
She handed out pamphlets and set up tables with books on adoption, what to expect when you adopt and how to find out more information about it.
Members from private organizations, like the DATZ Foundation, which specializes in international adoptions from Guatemala, China and Russia, and the United Methodist Family Services, which facilitates adoptions arranged directly between adoptive parents and birth parents or legal guardians, were on hand as well.
ADOPTION DAY was sponsored by the Loudoun Chapter of Virginia Women Attorneys Association and the Department of Family Services.
Karen Law, a member of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, said her main goal for the day was remove any stereotypes new families to the adoption process might have.
She said the No. 1 misconception is that it takes too long to adopt a child.
"Actually, the process takes about a year," she said.
Some families think adoption is too expensive, too. However, there are special grants and sliding fee scales families can apply for with the help of adoption agencies familiar with the process.
Another misconception is that adopted children have more problems later on in life, Law said.
According to the Journal of American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry, adopted teens have a positive self-image and resolve their identity concerns as fast or faster than their peers.
While Law understands potential parents’ concerns, she said there are many organizations, like the Department of Family Services, that can help.
"You just have to know what’s out there," she said. "It can be easy."