HELENA- People filled the State Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday to take part in the 22nd Adoption Celebration.
The annual event celebrates adoption in Montana as a part of National Adoption Awareness Month and is co-sponsored by the Department of Public Health and Human Services(DPHHS), Catholic Social Services, and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.
“Lives are changing today, families are being formed and lifelong relationships are being legally bonded,” said Governor Steve Bullock at the event.
“Today we celebrate what every child deserves: a forever home. Congratulations to the parents who have opened up their hearts and their homes and to the children with bright futures ahead as they embark on this new adventure together.,” Gov. Bullock added.
Judge Mike Menehan of Montana’s 1st District Court presided over the adoption of 9 children by Montana families at the ceremony.
Brenda Crawford and her husband Jason finalized the adoption of their third child on Tuesday and say they feel blessed to have their new daughter as a part of the Crawford family.
“If you have any thoughts about adoption, going through the foster care program is a great program,” said Brenda Crawford. “There’s a lot of kids that need homes so I would highly encourage that.”
DPHHS reports that there were roughly 400 adoptions in Montana over the last calendar year.
“Safe kids and strong families, this is what we work every day for,” said DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan, “While not every adoption ceremony is held in a public setting they do occur every month.”
DPHHS Deputy Director Laura Smith also oversees the department’s Child and Protective Services division and said the event reflects the department’s work and partnerships with the community.
“Finding permanent homes for those kids is our goal and it’s something to celebrate,” said Smith. “I have a 1-year-old so this work really means a lot on a personal level as well as a professional level.”
There were still more than 3,000 children in foster care in Montana that are in need of a forever home as of Tuesday.
Click here for more information about adoption opportunities in Montana.
-John Riley reporting for MTN News