For many South Florida children, Friday will mark a new beginning.
More than 50 families will celebrate National Adoption Day and finalize their adoptions in makeshift courtrooms at the Miami Children’s Museum. The event is being run by Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe and the Florida Department of Children & Families.
The event, sponsored by The Children’s Trust, will mark one of the largest adoption efforts in the country, said Sonia Diaz, spokeswoman for Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, a nonprofit organization that provides havens for children and families through adoption and foster care.
In Miami-Dade and Monroe counties “we have one of the highest numbers of children available for adoption,” Diaz said.
After an introductory ceremony for the families and judges, “different parts of the museum are turned into courtrooms” with a judge in each courtroom, Diaz said.
National Adoption Day, now in its 14th year, is a national effort to raise awareness of the 100,000 children in foster care throughout the country who are waiting to find permanent homes.
“If the system is unable to reunify the child with its biological family after a certain period of time, the parents’ rights are terminated,” Diaz said. The children are then available for adoption.
While Friday’s event presents a good starting point for families to learn about the adoption process, Diaz said, there are other ways to contribute.
“I think sometimes people think fostering or adopting is the only way they can help, but they can volunteer, donate — there’s many different ways to help,” Diaz said.
As children get older, they are less likely to be adopted, Diaz said. By age 9, the adoption rate drops 40 percent, Diaz said, which makes such adoptions all the more heartwarming.
“It’s really emotional,” Diaz said. “Bring a box of tissues.”
If you go
Where: Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Causeway
Time: Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., program starts at 9 a.m.