OLATHE, Kan. — Courtrooms aren’t necessarily known as a place for celebration, but joy filled the Division 10 courtroom Saturday morning at the Johnson County Courthouse.
There are 22 fewer pending adoptions on the court docket in Kansas, which still has a backlog of more than 500 cases with another 7,000 children in the foster care system, after nearly two dozen Kansas kids found the families they’ve been waiting for in conjunction with National Adoption Day.
"Welcome to the very best hearing I get to have in this courtroom,” Johnson County District Court Judge Kathleen Sloan said. “Welcome to the very best hearing that any judge gets to have in this entire courthouse.”
Stacey Chik and her husband adopted a boy and girl during the ceremony.
"Honestly, it's the end of a very long journey," she said.
Chik and her husband already have three biological children and foster two other kids.
"We have been walking towards this journey for almost 12 years," Chik said. "We were talking about it this morning — just knowing that adoption isn't the end. It's the beginning of truly of our new family."
Michael Coates and his wife, who were becoming parents again, could relate.
"My son is 32 years old and now, if we want to do something, we will make plans to do something and I'm like, ‘We don't have a babysitter,’” Coates said.
The Coateses adopted their great niece, Claire, and her sister. Coates said the girls have changed his life for the better.
"They make my day, and that's all I can say,” he said.
KVC Health Systems said it's a delight to see children get adopted out of the foster care system.
"It brings about the realization that there are so many kids in need and, whether or not you are going to adopt, but just fostering these children is so important," KVC Health Systems Vice President of Operations Danielle Bartelli said.
Families hope a day like this encourages others to look into foster programs and adoption.
"These children, they don't ask for to be born into this world and be born into brokenness, to be born into hard times,” Chik said. “But everybody needs to be loved, and to reach out your heart and love children who all they need is love is worth it.”