News 12’s Blaise Gomez helps raise awareness for foster children in need of adoption
News 12’s Blaise Gomez joined families and officials celebrating National Adoption Day at Orange County Family Court on Friday.
She was invited to speak as a former foster child in the Orange County foster care system.
“I never shy away from sharing my story, which did not have the perfect beginning,” said Gomez. “It’s important to never feel different and truly understand that you’re special.”
National Adoption Day is an annual event that encourages and recognizes the adoption of foster children. Orange County Department of Social Services Commissioner Darcie Miller says locally, there are currently 43 children in foster care who need forever homes.
This year’s theme was "At the Movies" and included a red carpet leading to the courtroom venue. Popcorn and movie-themed snacks were available to several children and families in attendance.
“Parents who adopt play a valuable role in our communities and provide a nurturing family environment to children in need of stability in their lives,” Miller said. “It is important to recognize the invaluable contributions that these families make and thank them for their dedication to these children.”
Eighteen foster children in Orange County have been adopted this year and 19 are in adoptive placements awaiting the finalization of their petitions, according to officials.
“The people who adopt children, to me, are the most special in the world but I also feel the children have the most courage,” said Orange County Family Court Judge Christine Krahulik. “They have to experience the loss of a biological family, perhaps that they knew, and take that step into being with a new family and embracing that and letting them have the chance to prove they are their forever family.”
One of the families there was an adoptive mother with her 5-year-old daughter, Aniyah Dittbrenner. The little girl was born opiate addicted but is thriving, despite multiple medical setbacks.
Orange County has a list of children available for adoption with their photos on their website.