On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Monroe County adoptive parents and families gathered in front of Monroe County Probate Judges Cheryl E. Lohmeyer and Frank L. Arnold to celebrate Adoption Day and thank the family for the gift.
Across the state, Michigan courts also completed the adoption process, held special events for foster families, and provided educational materials for those who wanted to learn more about the adoption process.
The 8th annual Monroe County event was an example of adoption reaching all ages. For example, hearings were held between the young – six-month-old Asher James Jacobs – and adults: Cynthia Skaggs, 39, Samantha Cousino, 43, and Angela Sammons, 44.
Children’s Advocacy Network Executive Director Niki Eyler served as guest speaker at the Monroe County Board of Commissioners on the first floor of the Monroe County Courthouse, 106 E. First St.
At 11:00 am, the Honorable Frank L. Arnold welcomed those in attendance and spoke about the importance of adoption and the uniqueness of this year’s confirmations involving three adults.
“You will learn that adoption is not necessarily about children and babies. It involves adults and we will see it in a special occasion,” Arnold said. “Today’s event, from my point of view, is not related to statistics, numbers and details of foster families … It’s really a holiday. This is a family holiday… This is an event about love.”
Judge Cheryl E. Lohmeyer then spoke about the importance of raising awareness about adoption and encouraging the community to get involved.
“We decided to start this because there are thousands and thousands of children waiting to be adopted and they really need a permanent family. It was our way of getting the message across,” Judge Lohmeyer said. “To have adoptive parents come here and show the joy that adoption can bring to a family is something we find very inspiring and can inspire others to do the same.”
Judge Lohmeyer oversaw the adoption of Asher James Jacobs by his parents, Nicholas and Julie Jacobs. The Jacobs have been foster parents for three years and are currently raising a little girl. After Usher’s adoption, his parents shared their thoughts with viewers.
“Throughout our marriage and throughout this process, from day one, we felt called to develop our family…Throughout our career, we have supported the mental, spiritual and emotional growth of young people,” said Nicholas Jacobs.
Julie Jacobs said that when the news came that the child was up for adoption, they were given an hour to make a decision.
“It probably took us five minutes to decide that this is what we wanted. This is what God has led us to,” she said. “So here we are on National Adoption Day.”
Arnold then oversaw the adoption of Cynthia Skaggs, Samantha Cousino and Angela Sammons to Donald and Donna Sammons.
Over the years, the couple opened their home to adopted children and grandchildren.
The women were raised by their grandparents, but guardianship was never recognized by the state. The morning hearing confirmed that they are a family unit, making Donald and Donna Sammons their mother and father in law. One of the most common reasons for adopting adults is to receive an inheritance.
In the letters, the sisters shared their desire to be adopted and expressed their gratitude to the couple who took care of them.
Skaggs wrote about life in limbo and how the adoption made her feel life was now complete, and Sammons’ letter spoke of her gratitude to her grandparents.
“They gave us a loving home,” Cousino wrote in his letter. “Where I felt safe.”
It is estimated that about 10,000 children in Michigan live away from their parents in foster care, and every year about 2,100 Michigan children in foster care are legally ready for adoption.