ALPENA - On Tuesday, 10 local children will be presented loving parents and new homes, as they are set to have their adoptions finalized and approved by Judge Thomas LaCross and Judge Michael Mack. The adoptions are the primary celebration of the 10th annual Adoption Day in the state of Michigan and Alpena County is one of 33 counties that celebrate the special day.
LaCross, who ran unopposed and was re-elected as probate judge will be sworn into office before finalizing the placement of the children to their new parents. LaCross said adoption is special because it takes a child who may have suffered through difficulties and sets them free.
"The termination of parental rights for any reason is tragic and from that it is like a phoenix rising from a tragedy. From that comes the beauty of adoption," LaCross said. "Adoption frees the child and gives them the hope of getting into a permanent family."
In fiscal year 2012 there were 2,538 children adopted. LaCross said there are many reasons children are put up for adoption, but the most common reason is one or more of the parents have issues with drugs and are either forced or voluntarily give up their children. LaCross said in many cases family members who are familiar with the kids step forward and become adopted parents.
"Many times the grandparents adopt the children because in many cases they have already been caring for them and have a relationship with the child," LaCross said.
LaCross said he has until January to be sworn into his role but wanted to do it Tuesday because he is proud of the role the county has played in pairing children and parents together.
"Adoption is the best thing I do as part of my job," LaCross said. "I'm not saying most important, but the most rewarding thing to be involved in for me. The care of a child is very complex and it should be because they are so very valuable."
After the proceeding Tuesday there will be a special party for the children and their parents. LaCross said the public is invited to come and congratulate the families and celebrate Adoption Day. The party begins at 4:30 p.m. at the AMA-ESD office at 2118 US-23 in Alpena. There will be food, beverages and games for the children.
LaCross said there are still children in Alpena who are waiting to find homes, and people interested should not be put off by the logistics involved in the cost. He said just because someone is not wealthy doesn't mean they won't be good parents. He said there also are programs available to help people with the cost of adoption.
"Depending on the agency, people can be put into a sliding fee scale or some kind of payment plan," LaCross said. "Finances should not impair people from adopting. I think there are many opportunities for people who may struggle with finances, but can still be good, loving parents. Money should not scare or deter anybody."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.