Part of the legal process of adoption happened in a different kind of venue on Saturday.
A tradition in Billings is for the judge to leave the courtroom to finalize the adoptions. However, this time eight families and 13 children enjoyed the Billings Adoption Celebration at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.
Mariya Lantz has five children, three of them adopted.
“I’m rewarded with five amazing kids,” said Mariya Lantz. “I never knew that one of God’s greatest gifts would be teenage girls."
The Billings Adoption Celebration brought even more families together.
Yellowstone County District Court Judge Michael Moses often finalizes adoptions in the courtroom.
“You have no idea how spectacular it is for me to be here to celebrate forever families and adoptions for 13 kids and eight families,” Moses said.
While the celebration is about the children and the parents, there is a lot more people connected with the families that are also part of the celebration.”
“If you helped us in the last three years, would you please stand up for us,” Zachary Munn asked his family and friends. “We want to thank you for making this happen.”
“I want to thank the department and every single one of you for helping us,” said Tammy Hoffman.'
“We are just very blessed that she gets to stay with us and that I got my baby girl,” said Lynette Brown.
And the ceremony gives parents a chance to talk about adopting children.
“If anybody else is interested in adopting it’s well worth it,” said Joe Garcia. “And think about the lives not only you’ll change for the children, but everybody else it affects.”
“Mr. Garcia is absolutely right,” Moses said. “One of the things that we do today is we affect not only this generation but all of the generations to come. And it is one of the most important things that we can possibly do.”
November is National Adoption Month and Saturday, Nov. 23 is National Adoption Day.