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Families, DHS celebrate mass adoptions

It’s something every child in foster care longs for: the day they get adopted.

     For some Copiah and Lincoln county children, Friday was that day.

     A mass adoption event was held at the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex Friday morning, where 11 children were adopted to eight families. For many, this day had been a long time coming.

     “Some of these kids have been in (Department of Human Services) custody for several years,” said Dionna Evans, the regional director of Family and Children Services with DHS. “It’s a good feeling to establish permanency for these kids.”

     This is the first mass adoption event in Lincoln County, and two have been done in Copiah County in the past two years. Evans said they try to do mass adoptions whenever they have a multiple cases ready to be finalized.

     “It’s nice to have these families and extended families here,” she said. “The kids are excited to finally be able to call [someone] their parent.”

     And the kids weren’t the only ones excited. Parents, siblings, grandparents and friends came out to celebrate.

     “We kept hearing all the time that this day was going to come,” said Brookhaven resident Chris Nelson.

     He and his wife, Angela, finalized their adoption of 3-year-old Jaikyah and 2-year-old Jameyah Nelson. The Nelsons have had the girls going on two years.

     “They always have been a part of the family,” Angela said. “Today just makes it legal.”

     Other families had similar sentiments.

     “We’ve already got two of her siblings,” said Teresa Fulcher, speaking of her newly adopted daughter, 3-year-old Autumn Rain. “She was already family.”

     Teresa and her husband, Barry, are from Brandon. They have other adopted children but they said they were glad this day had finally come.

     “It’s a long road,” Teresa said, “but it’s worth it in the end.”

     Another adoptive mother agreed.

     “It’s like jumping a hurdle. You have that feeling of ‘I did it,'” said Terri Smith, a Hattiesburg woman who finalized her adoption of 18-month-old Madison, who has been with her since she was only a few days old.

     Smith has an 18-year-old daughter, but said she decided to adopt because she felt it was right time.

     “I have always wanted more children,” she said. “The place I was at in life, it was the perfect opportunity.”

     For everyone present Friday, the day was a celebration. Both families and DHS workers were happy to see the children’s cases finalized.

     To mark the occasion, children and their parents released pink and blue balloons outside the building, which signified their transition from temporary to permanent homes.

     Dorothy B. Jacobs, the regional resource adoption supervisor who organized the mass adoption, said a lot goes into it but the work is worth it.

     “The mission of DHS is to provide a stable and permanent home,” Jacobs said. “That’s what happened for these kids.”