SCOTT COUNTY, VA (WJHL)- Families with newly-adopted children through the Scott County foster care system celebrated National Adoption Day in true 2020 fashion. A socially-distant ‘adoption parade’ rolled through Gate City on Friday afternoon, held by the Scott County Department of Social Services. In the past year, 18 children were adopted through the county foster care system.
“Typically we have a celebration indoors with refreshments and a ceremony, but we’re doing things differently this year,” said Lana Mullins, the director for Scott County DSS.
Family Services Specialist Emily Ashley said it ‘takes a village’ to make adoptions possible, including Child Protective Services and foster care workers, as well as judges, attorneys, court clerks, and families.
“We finalized seven [adoptions] today in the courtroom. That is actually, I think, the most we’ve ever done on one day here in this county,” said Ashley.
The parade of cars featured families like Jon and Leann Johnson’s. They adopted siblings Emmalin and Jack this June after fostering them for over two years.
“There’s been hardships, but we’ve loved it,” said Leann.
“The changes and the growth that we’ve seen in these two in our home have been nothing short of miraculous,” said Jon. “We didn’t know if [Jack] would ever be able to walk or talk. And now he’s a handful. But we wouldn’t change anything and it’s been truly a blessing.”
The county’s DSS has helped children ages two to 16 find their forever homes this year.
Charles Perkins said he was adopted into his family a few years ago and knows the importance of recognizing foster and adoptive parents.
“I thank all the parents that do foster care, and take in children that they have no clue who they are, their background or anything. And they just take them in, give them a home, a family, and love them,” said Perkins.
In their work, Mullins and Ashley said not all days are as joyful as this one, but seeing children go to happy and safe homes is worth it.
“We see a lot of bad things, we see a lot of sad things,” said Mullins. “But working for sometimes a year to two years with a family prior to getting to this point, you just see everything come full circle.”
The parade was also about raising awareness for the need for more people to open their homes.
“If you’ve even given it a thought or are thinking that it might be something that you’re interested in, then there’s a pretty good chance that you should take that step,” said Leann Johnson. “You should say yes, you should do it.”
Ashley said those interested in fostering should reach out to their local department of social services.
“We can never have enough families that would be willing to help a child,” she said.