Four Children have much to be thankful for this holiday season because they have officially been adopted. Judge Cheryl Hill presided over the adoption hearings in honor of Michigan's Adoption Day which was Nov. 26.
"Ever since I came into office I have wanted to make adoptions a big party," Judge Cheryl Hill said. "It's the formation of a new family and I just want to make it special."
Adoption Day was created to bring awareness to the 13,000 children that are need of homes in Michigan. In Marquette County alone there are 23 children waiting to be adopted and this year Judge Hill has done more than 33 adoptions.
Melissa Tobias, left, and Nathaniel Tobias, second from right, spent 10 months filling out papers to officially adopt Derek Tobias, second from left. The adoption was official as of Tuesday with Judge Cheryl Hill presiding. (Journal photo by Sylvia Stevens)
"My idea with adoption day and having this party is to show people in our community that there are children in need and that we can come together and support the families that have taken on the task of raising these children," Hill said. "These children so often come from such tragic situations so it's nice that they can have a new beginning."
The court room was filled with family and friends wanting to share in this special day. The day was filled with smiles and laughter for 10 year old Derek who was official adopted by his stepfather Nathaniel Tobias. His mother Melissa Tobias and step father have spent the last ten months filling adoption papers so he could have his named changed.
"It was about a year and a half ago he asked if he could because he wanted Nate to be his dad," Melissa Tobias said. "My son finally has a dad and that is just great. You can't ask for anything better."
After the final adoption, adoptive parents and their children spent time eating cupcakes and fresh fruit that had been provided to celebrate their new families. Families also took time to take pictures as well as meet State Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, who was on hand to celebrate.
"I think it is a great way to bring awareness to the fact that there are children out there looking for families and I think it makes a difference," Kivela said. "I think especially at this time of year during the holiday season the thought of kids not having a mom and dad, brothers and sisters, is pretty sad."
Those interested in adopting a child can contact Child and Family Services of the Upper Peninsula. Marquette County is also in need of families willing to be foster parents to a child in need.
Sylvia Stevens can be reached at email@example.com. Her phone number is 228-2500, ext. 246.