Smiles and laughter rang through a Vigo County courtroom on Friday morning as four children were connected with their forever families during Vigo County Adoption Day.
“I am on Cloud One Trillion,” said Olandriea Owens after the finalized adoption of her 2-year-old son, Xylon Owens.
A foster parent, Owens said she is pleased to have the energetic and talkative Xylon as her first child, and she recommends others become foster parents.
“It’s worth every second of it,” Owens said. “Knowing you give them the love and foundation — it’s worth every second.”
She laughingly said she now needs a bigger house, because she also fosters another child.
Coincidentally, she said one of the other adoptions taking place Friday involved her cousins.
Latoyia and Travis Wilson welcomed 3-year-old Irissya Wilson permanently to the family, which includes 8-year-old Travis Wilson Jr. and 16-year-old Imillyaun Wilson.
Sweet moments in the courtroom occurred when Judge Sarah Mullican asked the parents to raise their right hands to take oaths as part of the adoption proceedings. The children also raised their small hands along with their parents.
“Irissya is the star of the show today,” said attorney David Bolk to her parents as he presented the case to Mullican. She smiled and waved to the people on a video screen viewing the proceeding remotely via video.
“We are super excited. We waited three years for this. We are so excited she is 100 percent our family,” Latoyia Wilson said after the hearing.
The ceremony featured messages from Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, adoptive family Susan and Isaac Turner with their 3-year-old son Max, and state Sen. Jon Ford.
Ford, who was adopted and has a sister who was also adopted, congratulated the families for their new beginning.
“Adoption has always been a part of our life. We’ve always celebrated it. We’ve always encouraged it,” Ford said of his own family. “So I’m happy to be in the role I am now that I can come celebrate adoptions with you.”
He also praised the Adoption Day ceremony, which is in its third year in Vigo County.
“It’s really something meaningful and impactful to the children and to the parents,” Ford said.
Social distancing and mask wearing was enforced as each family individually had time in the courtroom. Two families also participated via video.
Vigo County CASA Director Glenna Cheesman said the Adoption Day event is a triumph over the adversity faced by some children and adults.
“During the times that we’re in right now, everyone needs a positive, and this was definitely a positive,” Cheesman said. “Happening right before Thanksgiving is even greater. It’s about family and about joy, and it’s about being together.”
Adoption Day raises awareness of children in foster care who are waiting for their forever family. The celebration includes representatives of the Indiana Department of Child Services and Vigo County CASA.
In 2019, Vigo County had 63 children adopted through DCS. In 2020, 43 children have been placed in their forever homes.
Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.