Brooklyn Boro

At Brooklyn court, dozens of adoptions take place in one day

November 20, 2019 Caroline Ourso

Dozens of families joined judges, attorneys and court employees as they packed into the sixth floor of the Kings County Family Court on Thursday, Nov. 14, to celebrate Adoption Day.

Once a year in Brooklyn, a bulk of adoption cases are scheduled for a single day, leading to one big celebration. A total of 37 families showed up to the courthouse this year for the occasion.

“There’s a little boy over there who is walking around, giddy, telling everyone that he is getting married today,” said Judge Lisa Friederwitzer, who is co-chair of the court’s Adoption Day Committee.

DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWS
News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond
Linell Douglas smiles with her son, Louis Santiago, 2, on Adoption Day at the Kings County Family Court on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Photo: Caroline Ourso/Brooklyn Eagle

The day can be a huge celebration for families, especially those who have waited years for their adoption to go through. Kids of all ages, from infants to teens, were adopted on Thursday.

Linell Douglas said she started fostering Louis Santiago when he was only one month old — he is now 2 years old.

“Louis came straight from the hospital,” said Douglas. “It is a process, but for him it was kind of easy because he has no family involvement.”

Erica Alston smiles with her daughter, Zolia Alston, 4, during Adoption Day at the Kings County Family Court on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Photo: Caroline Ourso

Erica Alston, there to adopt her 4-year-old daughter Zolia, said the process by which she decided to adopt a child was gradual. She started by helping kids, then became a foster parent and eventually decided to adopt.

“I used to take care of other people’s children, like if their parents kicked them out,” said Alston. “They would stay with me until they got their high school diploma or GED. The thing is, I get close to the kids.”


Other families were already blood relatives, like Angie Cantone and her 12-year-old granddaughter Mia Alicea. Cantone adopted the child when her daughter was unable to care for her. Mia’s younger sister was adopted separately by Jesus Alicea, her grandfather.

“We went through foster care first, then my ex-husband and I decided to adopt both of them,” Cantone said. “We still keep in touch. We do parties together, all the holidays, so the sisters will see each other often.”

Angelica Alicea, 3, smiles with Mia Alicea, 12, during Adoption Day at the Kings County Family Court on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Photo: Caroline Ourso/Brooklyn Eagle

To celebrate the occasion, Mia handed a purple plush toy to her younger sister, who grinned and kissed Mia on the cheek in return.

“This day is an extremely special day,” said Judge Friederwitzer, who has worked in Family Court for the past 24 years. “There are so many volunteers and so many people that contribute to it.”

Judge Lisa Friederwitzer speaks during Adoption Day at the Kings County Family Court on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Photo: Caroline Ourso/Brooklyn Eagle

Judge Judith Waksberg, who co-chairs the Adoption Day Committee with Friederwitzer and has worked in Family Court for three decades, explained that the event gives the court an opportunity to provide a positive atmosphere for the children. It also allows them to coordinate with community groups that provide the kids with things like pajamas, backpacks, books and posters. This year, they also brought in some clowns.

“We are very fortunate that we have a consistent number of adoptions,” said Friederwitzer, who noted that the court averages about 40 families per year on Adoption Day.


Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment