News: For kids in child protection system, Adoption Day is a chance at a better life

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Lois Nilson, Foster care and adoption, 612-596-0779

Maria Elena Baca, Communications, 612-348-5969


For kids in child protection system, Adoption Day is a chance at a better life

On National Adoption Day, this Saturday, November 21, 30 Hennepin County children will have a chance at a new beginning, and 19 families will embark on a new chapter in their lives together. Saturday will be a time for celebration at the Juvenile Justice Center, as parents and children come together in a finalization hearing before a district court judge.

The media are welcome to document this year’s Adoption Day celebrations, 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, November 21, at the Juvenile Justice Center, second floor, 590 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis. 

Recent changes to the child protection system, both at the state level and in Hennepin County, put a stronger emphasis on children’s safety. By the end of 2015, the county is projecting 16,000 child protection calls. Many of those will result in children being removed – temporarily or permanently – from their birth parents. It is likely that in the near future, even more children will need the haven of foster care and adoption. 

For kids who cannot live with their birth parents, adoption is a chance at a better life. For the adults and siblings who welcome them home, it is a chance to grow their families, or be a positive force in the lives of children. Many are foster families before they adopt. Others are relatives, stepping forward to help family members. They are single people, married couples and domestic partners, same-sex, straight, of all races and ethnicities. What they all share is room for a child in their hearts and their homes.

"Every child deserves a home where they are loved, supported, and have the best possible chance to succeed," said Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene. "Adoption Day is a fantastic way to celebrate the importance of family in providing children with a nurturing environment that allows them to develop into the best possible version of themselves.”

From foster sons to family members

Sean and Laura Milligan, of Inver Grove Heights, are adopting brothers, ages 3 and 4. Longtime foster parents, the Milligans said they couldn’t bear the idea of another transition for the boys, who had been in six foster homes by the time they arrived two years ago. Besides, they said, the boys are part of their family, which already includes two biological children. 

“They were a great fit with our kids and us,” said Sean Milligan. “We fell in love with them really fast, so it was kind of an easy decision. They grew on us and became part of us.”

The Milligans have been foster parents for 13 years. Their first foster child was a niece who lived with them for 11 years. In all, they have had 19 foster placements, and cared for children from all over the state, and as far away as South Carolina.

From grandparent to parent

Most often, the children who need adoptive families are older, school-aged children, or teenagers, or groups of three or more brothers and sisters whose healing and well-being depends on sticking together. 

Debra Moore, of North Minneapolis, will adopt her 6-year-old grandson on Saturday. She already adopted the boy’s two sisters, who are 9 and 11 years old. She said that her grandson was in and out of her house as a foster child since he was an infant; her daughter tried to keep him, but was unable to do so. 

“I feel that I’m doing the right thing once I look into that kid’s eyes and see that he’s not afraid,” she said. “They give me hugs and tell me they love me. I know I’m doing something right as long as they are happy and I can see it.”

Witness National Adoption Day

Some families are open to media in their court hearings. The first hearings begin at 9 a.m.; the last ones start at 10:20 a.m. If you would like to witness a court hearing, please check in before 10:20 a.m. 

Please ask for assistance with interviews and photos. Some families would like privacy on this important day; others are eager to share their stories with reporters. Current foster children cannot be photographed or filmed. 


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