There were two adoptions, two testimonials, and a heart-wrenching song that left a courtroom full of people on the verge of tears during the National Adoption Day ceremony Friday in the Hawkins County Courthouse.
Most of the folks in attendance Friday have participated in adoptions, either as parents, children, or the judges, attorneys, or other professionals involved in the process.
Chancellor Doug Jenkins noted that National Adoption Day was set aside to celebrate the fact that children who don’t have a home get a home, and parents who don’t have a child get a child.
“It’s always a happy occasion and always very much enjoyed doing adoptions in the morning because people usually — if they shed tears — they’re tears of joy,” Jenkins said. “Then I do my regular docket and everybody leaves with other kinds of tears in their eyes, unfortunately.”
Former Chancellor Thomas Frierson, who currently sits on the Court of Appeals, was the keynote speaker for Friday’s event.
Frierson noted that there are 120,000 children in foster care across the country, but nearly 75,000 children are transitioned into “forever homes” during the annual National Adoption Day ceremonies.
In 2003 Frierson presided over the first National Adoption Day in the Third Judicial District (Hawkins, Hamblin, Greene and Hancock counties). Over the course of nine years they celebrated 83 adoptions during those annual events.
He noted that several years ago a former foster care youth in Tennessee had this to say: “I want what everyone wants. A family of my own. I want dad to walk me down the aisle. I want a home to come to for the holidays, and I want grandparents for my children.”
“My wife Jane and I were blessed with three children through adoption,” Frierson said. “We remember their early years with fondness. They’re grown up now. I recall at the time a friend saying, you know Skip, always remember that when your children are young the days are long but the years are short. We have found that to be very, very true.”
He said it is appropriate to celebrate National Adoption Day through the season of Thanksgiving.
“In our community, and communities all across America, adoptive families are going to experience a full overflowing cornucopia of blessings,” he said. “Thankful children will embrace a forever family they once believed could only be a dream. Thankful parents and grandparents will be joining together with children that they have so long awaited. And, grateful communities and states, and our great nation, will be forever better because of all of this.”
Brad Price then sang a song called “My Boy” accompanied by his son D.J. who sat on a box that he used to play percussion.
The lyrics summed up the emotions of the day.
“He ain’t got my smile, that don’t bother me a bit. He’s got somebody else’s eyes that I see myself in. … He ain’t my blood, ain’t got my name. If he did I’d feel the same. I wasn’t there for his first steps, but I ain’t missed a ballgame yet.”
Wesley and Tia Trent then shared their testimony about the adoption of their daughter; followed by Brad Price and his wife Jessica, who shared the story of their journey that led to the adoption of three sons.
By the time Brad Price completed their story a lot of those tears of joy that Chancellor Jenkins had referred to earlier were being shed throughout the courtroom.
A video of Hawkins County’s entire National Adoption Day ceremony can be seen in the online version of this article at www.therogersvillereview.com
At the end of the event Circuit Judge William Phillips approved two adoptions — one for a couple who officially adopted their granddaughter; and one for a couple who each adopted a step-child belonging to the other parent.
In Tennessee there are more than 8,000 children in foster care and fewer than 4,000 foster families willing to provide homes.
Nearly 1,000 children age out of foster care every year without ever finding their permanent family.