National Adoption Day has been described as “organized chaos” by the Butler County judge who presides over the happy proceedings, and today will be no different when a host of children officially join their new families.
This year, 21 Butler County children, two from Hamilton County and one adult will be adopted during court proceedings at the Historic Courthouse. Butler County Common Pleas Probate Judge Randy Rogers and Magistrate Heather Cady will preside.
“It’s a celebration of the adoption process,” Rogers said. “There will be many tears that will flow, there will be a lot of laughter, it’s just a day of celebration.”
Adoption Coordinator for Children Services Theresa Cooper said 11 families will be adopting, including several adopting multiple children. BCCS has 125 kids in permanent custody, and 90 to 100 children are available for adoption.
“Nationally 75,000 children have had their dreams of a forever family come true on National Adoption Day. This is an incredibly special day for our children, adoptive families and our adoption workers,” she said. “Our goal is to find permanency for every child in Butler County. We strive to identify and match the perfect families for our children. We want to identify the family that best meets the needs of the child.”
One of the adoptive families this year has a unique set of circumstances. Megan Scott will be adopting Shyanna Dennis, who will turn 18 in a couple of weeks. She and her life partner Kenna Sheehan both want to adopt Shyanna, but they aren’t married yet, which is a requirement for both to be her parents under the law. However, their daughter will take Sheehan’s last name Saturday in preparation for the upcoming nuptials.
A new law passed a few years ago that ensures continued support for emancipated foster kids until their 21st birthday, so Shyanna would not be adrift after her birthday Dec. 9. Many foster kids the Journal-News has interviewed after high school graduation just want to be on their own. Shyanna said this is her family.
“I’ve been waiting for this forever,” she said. “I never really had a family that was strict but not like hovering, they care and God knows I need that. They love me. I felt at home when I came to live with them.”
Shyanna has been in the foster care system most of her life. Scott said she was Shyanna’s case worker before she was placed under the care of BCCS and she was drawn to her.
“I just saw something in her, she wasn’t happy in her placement that she was in, so we felt that we wanted to give her a more permanent place,” Scott said. “And she just deserves the world, so that’s what we want to give her.”
Holly Burns, the supervisor on her case, said it is rare to have someone so close to emancipation be adopted, but they were happy to make Shyanna happy.
“This is what she has wanted for a long time and it took her a long time to realize this is where I want to be, this is where I belong and she’s ready,” Burns said.
Shyanna is a senior at Marshall High School in Middletown and plans to go to college when she graduates. She is interested in “hair, art and cooking” but hasn’t made up her mind about her future. For now her family is what she wants.
“I told them I would love to be adopted but if it came down to it, and we couldn’t get it done before I was 18, I would always know that they are my family,” she said. “I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me that they are my moms … It’s awesome to have it finalized, it’s like the greatest feeling ever.”
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