Families milled around on the steps of the Riverside Historic Courthouse, on a crisp Saturday morning, waiting to start the first of their forever family moments.
November is National Adoption month and on Saturday, November 5, Riverside County hosted its 14th annual Adoption Finalization Day
in two locations, Riverside and Indio. There was a total of 82 children being adopted; 56 of those children being adopted at the Riverside location.
The adoption age ranges from 6-month-old infants to 21-year-olds.
Ida Roath from the Heart Gallery, an organization that helps hard to place children find homes, states that those who “turn into non-minor dependents at 18 […] can finalize an adoption clear up until 21 in the juvenile court.”
Brian and Chandra Concannon legally welcomed their foster now forever child into their family during the Adoption Finalization Day event. Jesus, was 16 years-old and just about to turn 17, was supposed to be a week-long placement for the Concannon’s who had previously only fostered younger children.
“Then a week turned into a month, which turned into a year and then turned into an adoption,” said Chandra Concannon.
Jesus, a senior at Poly High, reached teenage milestones such as touring Riverside Community College, driving lessons and getting a part-time job, would have aged out of the system when he turned eighteen. Legally an adult but still in high school and now tasked with the daunting thoughts of adult problems. Jesus gathered his courage a week before he turned eighteen and asked the Concannon’s to adopt him.
“The county moved mountains,” said Chandra Concannon. Pushing the adoption paperwork through to make them legally a forever family.
Stepping out of the courthouse, the clouds had parted seeming to know it was a day to celebrate. Children ran about in excitement, families and friends, gathered around the tables set out under canopies. It was not just the sun that cast a warm glow around, it was the feeling of belonging. These families are now legally sealed forever.
Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson addressed the families telling them that they did not just give the children a home they gave them hope.
“I think that’s one of the things you give the most to these children is hope, hope for a future, hope for something better.”
The families walked to their cars, stopping to take one more photo in front of the Adoption Day banner on their way to more of their first of forever’s.