Since 1995, Congress has recognized November as National Adoption Month. "Our goal is to have every child partnered with a CASA volunteer and ultimately be reunited with their family or, if that is not an option, adopted into a loving home where they can thrive". She said she is thankful for everyone who has helped her, as the moment seemed surreal.
Her daughter, Jamie Arnold, was happy to finally have siblings.
Today, eight children found their permanent home in a special ceremony at the Randall County Courthouse in honor of National Adoption Day.
"It's a new feeling because of course, I've never done this before". Ireland, who has high-functioning autism, now attends Rahway Elementary School, while Quinn waitresses and is in her third year studying psychology at Rutgers.
Kiara Kitsis-Price, center, hugs her new dad after signing adoption papers Friday afternoon at the Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis. The bill, passed by the Texas legislature earlier this year, allows faith-based organizations to legally assert their "sincerely held religious beliefs", while caring for children in foster care or in custody of Child Protective Services.
"I'm told that you have been coaching football for the last 13 years", Marquez said to the adoptive father, whose family was doubling in size. "They really are a testament to our community". As economies have improved in some countries from which many children had been adopted internationally, adoption rates have gone down, says Conn, partially because of a stigma that suggests that high rates of worldwide adoption mean that a country is "incapable of caring for [its] own children".
The family adopted the girls, and haven't looked back.
"This is just the next layer of our family to make sure we're together forever", said Tawnie Baranica.
"Just understanding that as a six-year-old that he can stay and have a permanent family - that's a big deal", Jones said.
But for 16 children in Snohomish County, they just could not wait to get in front of a judge. "I saw the need for permanency and felt very passionately about adopting through foster care", said Katherine.
Assisting this family through the adoption process was one of my greatest joys as a social worker. They have been providing foster care services in the area since 1976.
If you're thinking about adoption, the first step is simply getting information.
Around 200 children in Snohomish County are legally separated from their biological parents and waiting to be adopted.