By Beth O’Brien, reporting for Bluebonnet News of Montgomery County
Fourteen kids in Montgomery County were officially adopted by 11 families on Nov. 22 – Adoption Day in the County. The adoptions took place at the Montgomery County Courthouse in the 418th District Court and County Court-at-Law No. 3.
“We partnered with so many organizations, Sam Houston State University, the new Montgomery County Child Protective Services Board, Pay it Forward, Love Fosters Hope, Hope’s Bridge, Pathways, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, the County Judge,” Child Protective Services Regional Director Leshia Fisher said. “It’s just been a glorious opportunity to continue the collaboration that we’ve had in years past, it’s working today as well.”
Fisher said the time it takes to adopt a child is really up to the courts.
“We try to get all adoptions done within 24 months, but if anyone is interested in adopting, they can go to the Department of Family Protective Services website page, and click on the foster and adopt tab, and it will give you all of the criteria,” Fisher said. “It will tell you all the processes, home studies, all those types of things that you would need to do.”
Julie Culp was on hand to see her daughter get adopted by Katy and Bryce Adams.
“The baby being adopted is my birth child. I lost her due to meth use,” Culp said. “Through the help of the foster family that is now adopting her, they’ve been by my side, they’ve helped me throughout this whole story of sobriety and they invited me to be a part of this special day. It was extremely hard at first, but she’s with who God intended her to be with, and I still get to be a part of her life and I’m so blessed to have them be a part of my family.”
Culp has been sober for a year, and has another baby.
“I never lost custody of her, and if it wasn’t for Katy and the Adams, I would never be as far as I am right now,” she said.
Katy Adams believes this experience is special.
“I think the biggest thing that we’re realizing is this isn’t the end of the journey or even the beginning, but it’s a part of her journey, it’s a part of her story,” Adams said. “While there are momentous times in a person’s life, this is another chapter, as opposed to an ending or beginning. We wanted the biological family as well as our church family and our own family to be all a part of it, because it’s a part of her story and who she is.”
Bryce Adams said the biggest thing about today is they celebrate their new adoptive daughter, Jubylee, and have a “time of jubilee,” essentially.
“Then there is a biological connection that we have that we’d never give up, we’d never want anything different. Having birth mom here and having family here, church family, community, all that is a huge part of, like Katie said, the story of this little girl in a whole different way, so from tragedy to something that can be a really great thing,” Adams said.
Mary Jameson, her husband and family officially adopted Morgan, after they fostered her for the past 11 months. Morgan is 17 months old. The Jamesons also adopted Morgan’s older sister, who just turned 5, on her fourth birthday.
“At first, it’s hard to foster. It’s kind of like an invasion of privacy, but well worth it,” Jameson said. “At the end, I love my case workers. They’re amazing, they’ve helped me do so much, through problems, or anything I have they’ve been there, so I am just so happy with them. I told them I’d actually miss them. If you were to ask me two years ago, I probably would have said it’s so much paperwork and all of the stuff you have to go through, but completely worth it. Now I have two little girls. I thought I was going to be a mom of two kids, and now I’m a mom of four.”
Jennifer Walker added to her family by officially adopting two-and-a-half-year old Nikoana.
“I took her temporarily for the family (biological). It was people who I knew. I was taking her temporarily so that the parents could get what they needed to straight so they could her back,” Walker said. “When I say temporarily, I was supposed to have her for 60 days, and she should have gone home before her first Christmas.”
Walker said Nikoana was 6 months old when she got her, and 60 days has become 767 days.
“Dad’s (Nikoana) been incarcerated for most of the time, so it just took a long time for Mom to try and do her service plan, and then she couldn’t complete it because she wound up with her own legal troubles, and so in June they terminated their parental rights,” said Walker, adding that today was a great day. “She completes my family.”