Adoption Gives Children Hope | News, Sports, Jobs – Warren Tribune Chronicle | Wonder Mind Kids

Staff Photo / Emily Scott Princeton Dillon, 5, plays basketball with his cousin Christopher Braham, 12, both champions. Princeton was adopted by his mother, Kelly Dillon, in August 2019. Trumbull County Children Services hosted a private skating party at the Cortland Roller Rink Saturday for 17 Trumbull County families who had finalized adoptions in the past year.

CORTLAND — To celebrate National Adoption Day Saturday, Trumbull County Children Services threw a roller skating party for the 17 families in the county who completed an adoption in the past year.

National Adoption Day is an attempt to draw attention to the more than 400,000 children waiting to be adopted into foster care across the United States. A coalition of national partners — the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Alliance for Children’s Rights, and Children’s Action Network — established National Adoption Day.

TCCS hosts an event each year to honor local growing families and to remind the community that many children are still waiting for their forever homes. Children Services has more than 40 children in permanent care, of whom approximately 20 children are awaiting their forever families.

“While the agency’s mission is to help families reunite, sometimes it is not in the child’s best interest.” Trudy Seymour, TCCS adoption director, said. “Through the consistency, love and compassion of foster parents, children feel secure and can begin to heal. Through a collaborative partnership, we surround all children with the mental health, medical and educational treatment they need to overcome their trauma and become successful, happy young adults. While our foster parents provide a safe, temporary home, our adoptive families provide the forever home to which every child is entitled.”

This year’s theme “Small steps open doors” emphasizes that small community efforts have a lasting impact on youth and position them for positive outcomes. One family that exemplifies this theme is the Vaughn family of Niles.

Robert and Audrey Vaughn completed the adoption of their son Meade, 17, this year, but their story dates back to 2019. Step by step, they built their relationship until they were adopted just a few months ago.

Mentors at TCCS spend at least one hour a week with the child or children they work with. After a while, when both parties are comfortable, the mentor can take the child on field trips, and after that, when the mentor’s living space has been inspected, the child can come to the mentor’s house.

Robert became Meade’s mentor in the fall of 2019. It wasn’t long before Meade was invited to Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners.

“[Meade]was shy at first, but then he opened up and was part of the family from then on.” said Robert.

When it came to promoting Meade, Audrey said there was a common interest. Meade had asked someone at TCCS why the Vaughns couldn’t just promote him. Little did he know the couple were working toward becoming licensed foster parents so they could do just that. Meade began living with the Vaughn family on April 2, 2021. He got along well with the family’s teenage daughter and dogs, and it all fitted together.

Robert and Audrey completed their adoption of Meade on June 29th.

“We’re the rare foster parents in the sense that we take in teenagers where most people want babies and toddlers.” said Robert. “I feel like teenagers are my calling because they’re often left behind.”

Audrey’s advice to anyone thinking of fostering or adopting a teenager is to be patient, knowing that the child will likely try to push back, but only because they’ve been hurt before. She said to keep loving her.

Champion’s Kelly Dillon had similar advice for anyone looking to foster or adopt.

“If you think about it, you’re probably just the right person for it.” said Dillon. “You’re never 100 percent ready to be a parent no matter how you do it, but you learn as you go.”

She started nursing six years ago. She was a football coach for teenage and teenage boys and had several children who were placed in foster care, so she decided to become a foster parent herself. In August 2019, she adopted Princeton, 5, and in December 2021, she adopted Jaymes, 2, and is still a foster parent.

For more information on fostering and adoption, contact Michelle Schmader, TCCS Community Liaison and Recruitment Specialist at 330-372-2010 ext. 1343.

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