There Was Much to Be Thankful For As Dreams Came True for 41 Children 11/23/17 11/28/17 12:58:36 PM
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– Photos by Don Shepard, Don Shepard PhotographyFrom left, Judge Wadie Thomas lifts his teddy bear presented by fellow Juvenile Court Judges Vernon Daniels, Christopher Kelly, Elizabeth Crnkovich and Douglas Johnson in appreciation for the event he started 18 years ago.
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There Was Much to Be Thankful For
As Dreams Came True for 41 Children
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
Another Adoption Saturday, held for the past 18 years on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, is in the books, thanks to its founder, Douglas County Separate Juvenile Court Judge Wadie Thomas.
Forty-one children legally joined their new families on that day, amid much celebration and laughter.
During the event, children were entertained by balloon artists, face painters, a photo booth, crafts and live music from Omaha Street Percussion. Storm Troopers roamed the City County Building, where the festivities took place.
This year, a new community partner was part of the event. Hayneedle.com donated a $3,000 room makeover, providing furniture and décor to the family of Sheila Burrell and Reuben Jones on National Adoption Day.
“We are honored to be part of National Adoption Day as families are coming together and welcoming new members into their home,” said Jennifer Kros-Dorfmeyer, Sr. Brand Marketing manager at Hayneedle. “At Hayneedle we believe that everyone deserves a home they love and being able to help a family in our community start to make that a reality is a privilege.”
Sheila Burrell and Reuben Jones added little JC Jones to their family of three boys and two girls.
Prior to the beginning of the event, a press conference was held and a surprise tribute made by the Separate Juvenile Court to Judge Wadie Thomas. He has announced his retirement in January, so this is his last adoption day event as a judge, the event he started a decade and a half ago.
CASA for Douglas County, in partnership with the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County, hosted the annual National Adoption Day event. After the 41 adoption proceedings were concluded, all participants were treated to a party at the Omaha Children’s Museum.
This year’s event was possible due to the generosity of Gov. Pete Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore, a former CASA volunteer. Ricketts issued the following statement: “My wife Susanne and I are happy to support this day of celebration for the 41 children being adopted on National Adoption Day in Douglas County. We honor those children, and the families dedicated to raising them as their own, on this special day.”
According to the Foster Care Review Office’s Annual Report from 2016, 52 percent of Nebraska children who exited the child welfare system in 2016 were able to be reunified with their parents. Nebraska ranks slightly higher than the national average of 51 percent. According to the same report, 27 percent of child welfare cases in Nebraska closed in 2016 through Adoption.
“National Adoption Day is a wonderful day to celebrate the families willing to make a lifelong commitment to a child – something every child deserves,” says Kimberly Thomas, executive director at CASA for Douglas County. “We are thrilled to continue to help host this event, and encourage those interested in serving abused and neglected children to reach out to us at CASA.”