Adoptions bring joy to families

Adoptee Jerry Anderson, 2, is more interested in the balloons in front of the bench where Probate Judge James Fredericka is reading his adoption papers during a National Adoption Month program held in Trumbull County Court on Friday.

WARREN — As 2 1/2-year-old Jerry stood in front of Trumbull County Probate Judge James Fredericka’s bench playing with a string attached to a large red balloon, he was  oblivious to the action happening in the court finalizing his adoption to Kim Anderson.

As the judge completed the adoption hearing, Jerry spun around, gave Anderson a huge smile and ran to sit on her lap. The day’s significance likely did not register with the child. His only concern was that he was with his new mother and family.

When Anderson, 59, of Liberty, a recent graduate of Youngstown State University with a social work degree, began taking in foster children, she initially did not plan to adopt. However, on the advice of a counselor, she kept the option open in case there would be a child that pulled at her heart.

Jerry was that child.

“Jerry just fit into the family,” she said.

Kim Anderson and Niles residents Doug and Maryann Noland each completed their adoptions Friday afternoon during Trumbull County’s National Adoption Month program at the courthouse.

The Nolands adopted Abagail, 7, so that she will be with her birth brothers, Troy and Dominic. The brothers previously had been adopted into the Noland family.

The Nolands began bringing foster children into their home because they wanted to help children in need.  The couple, like Anderson, made sure adoption remained an option.

“Bringing children into our lives and our family  has been rewarding to us,” Doug Noland said.

With Abagail’s adoption, the family now has four adopted and one birth child.

Judge Fredericka, who 24 years ago also became an adoptive parent, said adoption is a win-win for everyone involved, including the child who gets a  family, parents who receive love from the children they are bringing into their lives, as well as the courts and the community that, more often than not, see these children go into stable nurturing families.

Renee Mraulak, senior supervisor at Children Services Board, said the county averages between 20 to 30 adoptions a year. There are an estimated 120 area foster children in 69 area foster homes.

“We are recruiting for more people interested in providing foster homes,” Mraulak said. “In recent years, with this heroin epidemic, we are experiencing more children needing foster homes. We have experienced a 40 percent increase in need.”

Once an application is turned in for a person or family to become a foster parent, it takes approximately six months for the applicant’s education and screening to be completed.