COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As we look ahead to Thanksgiving this Thursday, families across the country will be gathering around the table.
For this holiday, dozens of families are welcoming new members to the table.
The month of November marks National Adoption Month, where according to DSS, more than 600 children in South Carolina are available for adoption from the state’s foster care system.
Every child needs the love and protection of a forever family,” DSS Acting State Director Joan Meacham said. “Our waiting children deserve happy endings.”
To highlight the opportunity, S.C. Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty has declared November 19th as Adoption Day in South Carolina. Day-long hearings to finalize adoptions were held in four judicial circuits, with more than 60 children were adopted into 45 families.
Governor Henry McMaster also issued a proclamation declaring November Adoption Month, and November 19th statewide Adoption Day.
Families crowded into the Sumter County Judicial Center, to finalize their adoptions Monday.
Circuit Court judge George McFaddin finalized his 500th adoption case.
“It’s a chance for me to give back. To take time from what normally would not be a court day, but to give that day back to these families so they can find the happiness they see,” McFaddin said. “But most importantly, for these children to find homes.”
For Angela and Jason Williams, they say this has been a prayer finally answered for their family after finalizing the adoption of their 2-year-old son, C.J.
“He’s our prayer and I’m hoping we will be his prayer,” Angela Williams said.
When Jason and Angela got married, they knew they wanted to have children someday.
“We realized that it wasn’t in the stores for us. So we started talking about adoption and it was like let's go down that road and let’s see what path it takes us down,” Angela Williams said.
That path led the Williams family to sweet C.J.
“We got him last December when we became his foster to adopt home and we’ve been waiting in the trenches since,” Angela Williams said. “The day couldn’t come quick enough.”
It’s been a process for the Williams family to adopt C.J.
“You get a sense of fear. Is he leaving us? Is he going? And to be here today, to know that he is ours and there’s no taking him from us that we are forever,” Angela Williams said.
On a week of giving thanks, C.J has given the Williams family a gift to be eternally thankful for.
“And when the judge said that, tears flowed,” Angela Williams said. “I could give you 30 days of thankfulness, but I can sum it up with two letters. C.J. Thankful for him.”
According to DSS, in the fiscal year 2017-2018, 478 children were adopted out of the foster care system, with an average of 40 each month. The average age of children waiting to be adopted is 11 years old.
If you’d like to learn more about the adoption process, you can follow these five steps:
- Make the call to HeartFelt Calling, (888) 828-3555, and fill out an application or visit www.heartfeltcalling.org.
- Attend training to help identify the types of children that would best fit into your family.
- Meet with an adoption specialist for interviews in your home. Submit medical forms and references. Complete your home’s fire and sanitation inspections.
- A selection committee matches a child with your family and shares the child’s full background and unique needs.
- Meet the child and begin getting to know each other. When the child and your family are ready, the child is placed in your home. You are now on the way to your final adoption day.