OLYMPIA - Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham's penstroke Thursday made it official: Tamara and Ross Paddock had a new daughter, 2-year-old Alex Paddock.
Alex joined her biological brother, Montoya, 4, who was adopted two years ago by the Paddocks.
“We got him when he was 10 months old, and we got the phone call when she was born and she joined us,” said Tamara Paddock, a teacher in the Tumwater School District.
The Paddocks and several other families finalized their adoptions in a ceremony for National Adoption Day on Thursday in Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court. Eleven children participated in the ceremony, which included cake and photos and face-painting.
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Parents, relatives, caseworkers, advocates and others were on hand to mark the event, which is being staged in counties statewide to highlight the need for more adoptive parents. Statewide, there are 1,750 children in Washington who are eligible for adoption, figures show.
“We believe that every child deserves a permanent home,” said Myra Casey, Region 6 administrator for Children’s Administration.
Casey said that in many cases in which parental rights are ended, Children’s Administration looks for another family member who is willing to adopt the children. However, anyone may apply to be an adoptive parent.
For Tamble and Shannon Taylor, officially adopting four family members younger than 7 meant providing them with stability.
“We were trying to get them back with their natural parents, but that didn’t work out,” Tamble Taylor said.
Tamble Taylor said that going from foster parenting to adoption was a long process, but it needed to happen.
“You don’t get kids from their parents without making sure that it’s the right thing to do for the children,” he said.
The Taylors already have three grown children, ages 22, 29 and 32, and five grandchildren.
“Our kids fit right in with all the other kids we have,” he said.
Tamara Paddock said that she and her husband, Ross, weren’t planning to become adoptive parents, but they started the process after meeting Montoya when he was an infant with his then-foster mother, who said he was available for adoption.
“When we got him home, that was it. It was one of those times when it was obvious what we were supposed to do,” she said. “We’re saying he just fell from the sky.”
But Valli Lodge, who adopted her grandsons Conner, 5, and David, 4, said that a social worker from Children’s Administration encouraged her when the adoption process, which included home visits, got frustrating.
“I was feeling like I was never going to be good enough,” Lodge said, “But she said, ‘No, you keep going. You can do this.’”
Finalizing the adoption process was a relief for her and her grandsons.
“They are no longer worried that someone is going to take them away,” she said.
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