Harrison County Chancery Court celebrates Adoption Day

November 4, 2008

Harrison County Chancery Court will celebrate a special Adoption Day on Friday, Nov. 7, at the Harrison County Courthouse in Gulfport. November is National Adoption Month.

Multiple adoptions of children in foster care are expected during the afternoon. The number of cases to be presented has not yet been determined.

Chancery Judge Margaret Alfonso, senior judge of the 8th Chancery District, will preside over hearings in chambers to finalize the adoptions.

Judge Alfonso said, “Every day in our community, there exists a child in need of a home. Fortunately for the children being adopted on Nov. 7, there are special families opening their hearts and homes to them.”

Formal proceedings in any adoption case are closed to the public. No media coverage will be allowed in chambers as the adoptions are finalized.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the public celebration at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in Courtroom Number 3 on the second floor of the Harrison County Courthouse in Gulfport. Adoptive parents and children, members of the court, and Department of Human Services staff will gather in the courtroom to celebrate the occasion with refreshments.

Members of the media attending the Adoption Day celebration can be put in touch with adoptive parents who may be willing to be interviewed. No list for family interview contacts will be available in advance. Media seeking such interviews should attend the program.

All the children who will be adopted have been in foster care under the supervision of the Department of Human Services, Judge Alfonso said. These are children whose biological parents have had their parental rights terminated by the court. The adoptive parents have previously provided foster care for the children.

Lori Woodruff, MDHS Deputy Administrator for Family and Children's Services, said, “When entire communities, like this one, believe that children have a right to a permanent family, ...matches are made and lives are positively impacted for generations. We at the Mississippi Department of Human Services appreciate that Judge Alfonso has made permanency placement a priority in the Harrison County Chancery Court and applaud her efforts to give these children a home they can call their own.”

National Adoption Day is Saturday, November 15. Professionals Advocating for Children Together (PACT) and a coalition of foster and private adoptive families and friends are sponsoring an adoption celebration that day at the Handsboro Community Center at 1890 Switzer Road in Gulfport. Adoption professionals and adoptive families will be available to talk to anyone interested in learning more about adoption.