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Young Father Celebrates Adoption Saturday 11/22/18  11/25/18 11:50:26 PM Printer Friendly VersionPrinter Friendly Version

Sean Summers welcomes JaceyAuna (on the right) as an official member of the Summers family, which includes her two biological sisters (left) and a half-sister. The decree was issued by new Juvenile Court Judge Chad Brown, whose first time at the event found him impressed with the joyful proceedings.
(Photo by Lorraine Boyd)

And JaceyAuna Makes Four
Young Father Celebrates Adoption Saturday

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Thirty-eight children who had been in foster care became official members of their adoptive families on Adoption Saturday in Omaha November 17.
This is the 19th consecutive year that the national event has been celebrated in Omaha. This is, however, the first year that Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Wadie Thomas, who retired earlier this year, did not preside over the event that he founded.
This year, Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Crnkovich presided, but she said it would be a rotating position
in the future.
Nonetheless, Judge Thomas couldn’t stay away; he showed up and visited with the families, lawyers and guardians ad litem, rejoicing with them on this special day.
Summers Family Thankful
Also rejoicing was single dad Sean Summers, who adopted the sibling of two of his daughters, JaceyAuna, 4. He also has another daughter who is 6.
Summers, when asked about his journey up to this day, shook his head and said, “It was a long journey. I had to adopt her; I wanted to keep her with her sisters.”
So he now has four daughters, ages 1, 2, 4 and 6, all sporting cute little cornrow braids. Told he was a brave man, he laughed and agreed. Someone reminded him he even though he has his hands full, “he’s got family help.” The little girls laughed when he was asked if he did their hair. “I try,” he said.
On this Thanksgiving Day, what does Summers have to be thankful for? “Being a daddy. I’m thankful for family.”
The 27-year-old has his own lawn service, “year-round actually,” who is “just waiting for it to snow.” He got his wish later that day.
Adoption Saturday
One of the purposes of Adoption Saturday is to publicize the need for adoptions and to encourage those considering adoption to open up their hearts and homes to these youngsters.
Judge Crnkovich told the audience at the introductory press conference that these were families whose relationships were not born, but created through love. She noted how important adoption is for the children in foster care, noting that while the main point of National Adoption Day is to finalize adoptions, it’s also a day of celebration.
“It’s a celebration for those children who have found their forever families and for the parents who have made it through the long adoption process and have finally made it to finalization,” she said. “It’s also a celebration of life, love, and family.”
The guest speaker was Carrie Hillebrandt, who has worked as a youth counselor and case manager for 15-plus years and is now owner and director of operations at Hill Counseling and Consulting. In September, she adopted three siblings she had fostered for 18 months – Emily, Anthony and Javier – and she said her children and their biological family have joined together to be “one big family” for the children.
“They mean everything to me,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine my life without these kids.”
The atmosphere throughout the morning was one of excitement, fueled by face-painting, balloon animals and other creations, a magician, a man on stilts spinning a ball and helping the kids do it too. And appearances by and photo ops with Spider-Man and Disney princesses who thrilled little girls dressed in sparkly dresses.
All the newly adopted children picked out a teddy bear and wore a big button that said: “I have been adopted today.”
There were doughnuts and juice boxes and promises of more goodies to come when the families were all invited to a big party at the Children’s Museum after the court sessions ended.
Other cities in Nebraska held special adoption days in November as well: Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk and Grand Island celebrated November 17, while Scottsbluff will celebrate on December 8. Lincoln and North Platte held their Adoption Day on November 3.
A total of 396 adoptions were finalized in Nebraska from January through October 29, 2018, with 405 wards available for adoption as of October 29. Surprisingly, the average time in care for those who were adopted in 2018 was 2.5 years and their average age was 7.1 years. And, for those still available to be adopted, they’ve been waiting an average of 3.3 years and their average age is 9.6 years. Nationwide, there are 114,000 children waiting to be adopted.
The event received funding from the Hitchcock Foundation, which provided entertainment (balloon artist, face painting, magician, etc.), gifts for all the children being adopted, t-shirts, professional family photos, desserts/beverages, flowers for all the parents and more.
Sponsors were:
Volunteers and Grant:
Douglas County Juvenile Court
Douglas County Probate Court
Hitchcock Foundation
Carrie Hillebrandt
CASA for Douglas County
Child Saving Institute
Foster Care Review Office
Nebraska Department of Health
& Human Services
Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission
Crane Coffee
Central Garrison, 501st Legion
(Star Wars)
Lutheran Family Services
Nebraska Children’s Home
Orphans and Widows of Omaha
Paradise Café
Project Everlast
Project Linus
Right Turn
Sky Zone
Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream
Viola Flowers
Participating Vendors:
Cami Thompson Photography
Happy Faces Face Painting
Omaha Children’s Museum
Pettit’s Pastry
The Balloon Brigade
Valentino’s Pizza
For information on how to adopt one of the hundreds of children who need homes in Nebraska, visit the DHHS website.
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