Over 80 children and their families celebrate ‘historic’ day for adoptions in Riverside County
November 7, 2022
Dozens of heartwarming ceremonies held at two courthouses on Nov. 5
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.—Cuddly teddy bears were presented to five sisters, ages three to nine, when they arrived at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on a brisk Saturday morning. They were dressed for their special day in matching denim outfits and white shoes, eager to enter the courthouse to finalize their adoption.
“I’m happy to be getting my parents today,” said Evolet, 9, sitting next to her siblings Izabella, 7, Quetzaly, 6, Ahura, 5, Lucy, 3 and soon-to-be parents, Sofia Rivera and Miguel Angel Avena, of Cathedral City.
A short while later, the family of seven entered the courtroom and listened excitedly for the long-awaited moment as the paperwork was signed and the judge proclaimed the five girls were legally adopted. They were officially a family forever. Dozens of other families experienced the same heartwarming moment Saturday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio and the Riverside Historic Courthouse.
November is National Adoption Month, a time when counties and communities across California promote adoption and permanency awareness through activities and events. It draws attention to the needs of the children and youth in foster care waiting for families to adopt them. On Saturday, the Children’s Services Division at the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services and the Riverside Superior Court co-hosted the 14th annual Adoption Finalization Day. 50 families legally adopted 82 children.
County officials say the number of children adopted at a single event this year was historic. Overall, Riverside County completes between 300 to 700 adoptions each year.
“The Riverside Superior Court is honored to be a part of Adoption Finalization Day. This year we celebrate a substantial number of children and families as we share the adoption process with every one of these families,” said the Juvenile Court’s presiding judge Mark Petersen. “The court recognizes how important it is for all involved agencies to come together and support the new beginnings each of these families will have as they move forward as a family.”
Children and youth of all ages participated in Adoption Finalization Day, surrounded and cheered on by social service professionals, court personnel, civic leaders, faith-based partners and volunteers.
“Today, we celebrate all the homes created,” said 5th District Supervisor and board chair Jeff Hewitt. “To do this with over 80 children makes me proud to be part of this county.”
Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez visited the eastern county event in Indio and observed the court proceeding where a family finalized the adoption of two children. “I am glad that I got to see the process, meet the families and observe one of the adoption finalizations take place,” said Supervisor Perez. “Adoption is a major lifelong commitment and it is beautiful to see.”
At the Riverside Historic Courthouse, 18-year-old Jesus Negrete was adopted by Brian and Chandra Concannon, a Riverside couple in their 60s who had initially only thought about fostering. But when Jesus entered their life about a year ago, they decided to pray about it and made the decision to adopt him.
“When I was younger, I always wanted to be adopted but as I grew older, I gave up on that dream,” said Jesus. “But when I met my parents, they reminded me of everything I wanted in a family, everything I dreamed of as a child, and they opened that door up for me again.”
“My heart is so filled with joy to see these families uniting through adoption as we celebrate National Adoption Month,” said Charity Douglas, assistant director of Children’s Services. “We also know that there are children who still need homes. We continue to implore our community to continue to support our children and families in Riverside County.”
For more information on fostering or adoption in Riverside County, please call 1-800-665-KIDS (5437) or visit www.heartgalleryriverside.org.
Cutline: Sofia Rivera and Miguel Angel Avena celebrate their adoption of Evolet, 9, Izabella, 7, Quetzaly, 6, Ahura, 5, and Lucy, 3, at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Nov. 6, 2022.