MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Forty-five South Florida children who have sadly experienced tragic abuse found new homes Friday in Florida’s largest adoption ceremony. The event, which was part of National Adoption Day, took place on Watson Island.
Far from their courtrooms, judges and families packed the Miami Children’s Museum for what child welfare officials called ‘the best day of the year.’ “It’s absolutely the best day of the year, exclaimed Dr. Oren Wunderman of the Family Resource Center.
One family in the crowd has fostered 87 children over the past decade. The Alvarez family, along with 44 other foster families, attended Friday’s event in order to take the extra step to adopt.
“It’s the most rewarding job in the world, taking care of the children,” said Lisa Alvarez. As she pulled her adopted daughter Natasha close, she continued, “Look at what I’ve got. This is the best daughter in the world right here. She is just amazing.”
The Alvarez family expanded their family Friday with the adoption of Desi, a child with medical issues, but that that didn’t matter. They just wanted to change his life for the better.
“Love prevails,” said Dr. Wunderman. “These kids are very high need. A lot of them don’t make it into adulthood and she knows that when she adopts them, but love prevails.”
The adoption ceremony took place in a makeshift courtroom filled with teddy bears. During the ceremony, a court officer asked Lisa Alvarez why she wanted to adopt Desi. Alvarez responded, “Because we love him with all our hearts and want to make him a permanent member of our family.”
Desi smiled as the judge signed off on the paperwork. He doesn’t realize it but Desi Alvarez’s life changed forever at that very moment. The family proclaimed, “You’re ours! You are all ours!”
In addition to the smiles, there was some heartache. Fighting back tears, Desi’s paternal grandmother said, “I couldn’t wish better for him. I know they are the best parents. He’s sick and I couldn’t do it myself so I had to do what I had to do.”
Down the hall, there is more clapping and applause as another adoption became official. It happened a total of 45 times.
Each one of them remarkable as families came together out of tragedy in the largest adoption ceremony in the State of Florida. Fran Allegra of Our Kids hopes people walk away from the event inspired to step up next.
“Some people still think that to adopt a child is a hard thing or that you have to go to another state or another country. There are plenty of children, beautiful children, ready to be adopted right here in our own backyards,” said Allegra.
Allegra explained there is a lot of help when adopting. Besides all the legal fees being covered there is also a monthly stipend to help cover expenses. Medical bills are covered until they are 18 and every adoptee gets a 4-year prepaid college scholarship. If you would like more information on all this go to the following websites: