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Brooklyn Family Court finalizes 40 adoptions for National Adoption Month

November 20, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Adoption Day Committee Co-chairs Hon. Lisa Friederwitzer (left) and Hon. Javier E. Vargas (right) with keynote speaker Heather Saslovsky during the Kings County Family Court’s annual Adoption Day celebration. Forty adoptions were finalized in Brooklyn as part of the annual event. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Kings County Family Court held its annual Adoption Day event in conjunction with the National Adoption Month where judges finalized the adoptions for 40 children and their families who are living in Brooklyn during a special ceremony on Thursday.

“The goals of Adoption Day are to finalize adoptions across the country, honor the families who adopt and raise awareness about children waiting to be adopted and encouraging others to adopt,” said Hon. Amanda White, supervising judge of the Brooklyn Family Court.

“By giving a permanent home to the children being adopted today, you are also giving these children a strong foundation, a home, a family to love and a safe place to grow. You are affirming the role of adoption in the lives of American families in our country,” he said.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

National Adoption Day started in 2000 with nine events in various cities across the country. By 2017, it had become a month-long event with more than 400 cities that celebrated with approximately 70,000 adoptions being finalized.

In Brooklyn, Adoption Day is a daylong event at the courthouse where four judges, including Hon. Susan S. Danoff, Hon. Richard Ross, Hon. Lisa Friederwitzer and Hon. Javier E. Vargas preside over 10 adoptions each. It is a celebratory atmosphere throughout the day as there are giveaways, activities, family photos, food and even a clown for the kids to enjoy.

The judges and Adoption Day Committee members all take part in an opening ceremony that included speeches from David A. Hansell, commissioner of the NYC Administration for Children Services; and Heather Saslovsky, staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice division.

Hansell, who pointed out that it is no coincidence that National Adoption Month falls right before the holiday season, introduced Naomi Nedd and her newly adopted son Nicholas during his speech. They were both wearing shirts that read, “Out of my way, it’s finally Adoption Day!”

When this reporter asked if Naomi and her new son had the same last name, she proudly proclaimed, “He will be the time this is printed.”

“For most of you I know it has been a long, long journey to get here and this is a big sigh of relief,” Hansell said. “We celebrate with you, we honor you, we honor the adoptive parents in particular for having stuck with it.

Brooklyn families who took part in Adoption Day got to take part in food, games and activities that included a setup where they can pose for family photos.

Hon. Javier Vargas.

“So many of you have opened your hearts to children of all kinds, including the most vulnerable in our system — LGBT young people, pregnant parenting teens, youths with special needs — and we thank you for doing that.”

Judge Vargas then introduced Saslovsky, an adoptive parent of two boys, as the keynote speaker. Saslovsky used her experience as an adoptive parent to offer some advice to the new parents and new sons and daughters.

“Some of our kids have gotten notice that they are going to be removed several times in their lives,” Saslovsky said. “Recognize that, talk about it so that you can fight the instinct to run when things get hard.

“Parents, your child’s experience cannot be erased,” she continued. “Love and stability helps but the memories remain. You need to understand that their responses sometimes have nothing to do with you. Keep positive connections to the past and maintain an open and honest dialogue.

“Kids, adults mess up. Even awesome and loving parents screw up all of the time. Forever means that after an argument — and you will all argue — that you have a home and you don’t get to disappear. No longer do you have a crazy lawyer to call to move. You have to stick it out and work through it.”

Adoption Day is the result of five months of efforts by the judges, lawyers and court staff who make up the 32-person Adoption Day Committee. The chairs of that committee are judges Vargas and Friederwitzer.

“We want to thank the adoption committee, the court staff and all of the agencies who happily and with a full heart gave up their personal time to ensure that this day is truly special,” said Judge Friederwitzer. “It is an honor for all of us to play a part in creating your forever families.”


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