19 children celebrate National Adoption Day with new families

Published: Nov. 22, 2019 at 10:51 AM EST
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Celebrations are underway across the nation as families grow in size and love. Saturday is National Adoption Day, a time to increase awareness of the value of adoption as so many children sit in the foster care system, waiting for a permanent home.

Adoption ceremonies took place in courtrooms across the country Friday, including South Bend.

“There's a lot of smiles on faces on adoption day,” St. Joseph County Probate Judge Jason Cichowicz said. “This is our celebration of kind of completing the family. Whether it’s a stepchild adoption or a ward of the Department of Child Services, this is now their forever home.”

While adoptions happen throughout the year in the St. Joseph County Probate Court, on National Adoption Day, media is given a peek inside the process as 19 children were adopted Friday.

The kids range in age from 1 to 17. While their stories may be different, they share one common goal: to be a part of a family.

“It’s been the hugest blessing. I can't imagine not having him,” said Rachael Scanlon, of Mishawaka.

On Friday, Scanlon became a single mom of a teenager at the age of 24. She couldn't be more excited.

She first met her son in 2017 through her job in social work and instantly bonded. The boy’s name and image is protected in our story for privacy reasons.

“I couldn't leave him. I couldn't just watch him sit in the system,” Scanlon said. “Somebody needed to do something. So why not me?”

“She’s a hero,” her teenage son said of Scanlon. “Because I could've been stuck in that same place I was a year ago, but I’m not anymore. I'm in a loving family. Nice house. New start.”

Among his supporters is his biological sister, who was adopted by a different family two years ago. She wants more people to consider adopting teenagers.

“They're just not wanted as much as much as the little kids, and I think that's ridiculous,” said the girl, whose identity 16 News Now is protecting by calling her Chya. “Because teenagers are awesome. I think they just need love.”

Love, from a forever family.

There are about 150 to 160 adoptions in St. Joseph County each year. According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, there are currently 1,500 foster children waiting to be adopted in the Hoosier state.

More information on adoption in Indiana

Indiana Department of Child Services Foster Care Information

The Villages


KidsPeace Foster Care South Bend


Adopt US Kids Indiana

Catholic Charities South Bend

More information on adoption in Michigan

Michigan’s Department of Child Services Foster Care Information

Michigan’s Foster Care Navigator

Adopt US Kids Michigan

Samaritas - Benton Harbor


Bethany Christian Services of Michigan - Benton Harbor


Catholic Charities Kalamazoo Diocese