Harrison County Chancery Court celebrates Adoption Day

November 10, 2009

At least a dozen children are expected to make family bonds permanent in a special Adoption Day on Friday, Nov. 13, in Harrison County Chancery Court.

A public celebration is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Courtroom Number 3 on the second floor of the Harrison County Courthouse in Gulfport. Adoptive parents and children, judges and court staff, Department of Human Services staff and members of Professionals Advocating for Children Together (PACT) will gather in the courtroom to celebrate with refreshments.

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

Judge Alfonso said, “There is nothing more rewarding than to place a child in need of a home in a loving, stable family.”

Harrison County Chancery Court began participating in National Adoption Day in 2004. “It’s grown each year and it’s something everyone enjoys,” Judge Alfonso said.

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

Members of the media are welcome to attend the public celebration in the courtroom.

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 of 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.

National Adoption Day is Saturday, November 21. Special adoption observances date back to 1976, when the governor of Massachusetts proclaimed Adoption Week. That same year, President Gerald Ford, who was adopted, made the observance national. In 1990, it was expanded to National Adoption Month in November.