BRANCH COUNTY — For the first time in several years, Probate Judge Kirk Kashian held an Adoption Day so six children, all wards of the state, could find permanent homes with their three foster families.
There was a big smile on the face of Ricardo.
“It’s adoption day,” he said. Mom Alicia Drumm said, “for about six months, he started counting down the days for adoption.” Last Tuesday, he became Noah Augustus Drumm, a name the 10-year-old helped chose.
His little brother, who will be 4 in February, will become Roman Malachi Edward Drumm.
Cody and Alicia Drumm provided a home as foster parents with their three other children for the past two years. Judge Kashian, as head of the Family Division of the Circuit Court, terminated the parental rights of the boys. The state became responsible for them through the Children’s Service of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Kashian said he asked the state to expedite the six local cases waiting for over 18 months to become permanent members of their foster families. The approval came in time for Nov. 22, proclaimed as Adoption Day by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The group in Branch County was part of the more than 200 children who are still awaiting a forever family through adoption. There are over 10,000 children in the state’s foster care program.
Kashian signed the orders indicating the Drumms adopted both boys. The judge presented them with certificates with their new names.
This came after both parents promised under oath “to accept the obligation to provide these children with love and security. A home and necessities of life, and the best available education.”
“Perhaps, more importantly, do you desire the relationship to be established between you and these boys as parents and child? Both agreed with smiles on their faces.
Friends, family, their Jennings School principal, and teachers, along with social workers, filled the small courtroom for the legal proceeding.
“I know they're really excited. They have received an abundance of love from the family," Children's Services coordination Caitlin Fuller told the crowd. "And I know they will just flourish and continue to have a great life with the Drumms.”
“They were our first foster babies, our first placement that we got," Alicia Drumm said of the boys.
The two boys join three other siblings. The oldest, Kayla, is a high school senior. “It's a big group. They fit from day one. I don't remember the way it was before they were there. It’s like they've always been part of us. They fit in with all the cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, everybody,” Alicia said.
Kashian oversaw two other adoptions on Nov. 22 — National Adoption Day is a collective effort to raise awareness of the more than 113,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States.
— Contact Don Reid: dReid@Gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DReidTDR.
This article originally appeared on Coldwater Daily Reporter: Branch County families expand ranks, love for Adoption Day