WAUKESHA, Wis. - National Adoption Day next weekend aims to shed light on more than 113,000 children in the U.S. who await adoption from foster care.
As Waukesha observed National Adoption Day on Friday, one family became complete.
"She’s been with me for three years, so it’s like she’s been mine," said Tammy Schmitz, who adopted her 4-year-old granddaughter, Aria.
"It’s always a great culmination of days, weeks, years to get there," said Waukesha County Juvenile Court Judge Cody Horlacher.
"It’s tough. It’s a lot of time. And then she’s in the house with me, so there’s a lot time spent raising her," Schmitz said. "That’s a huge challenge to take on like every child."
In Wisconsin, 1,300 children in foster care are awaiting adoption. While observing National Adoption Day, hundreds united to finalize and celebrate adoptions from foster care.
"If you feel that a child is in danger, take that step. Don’t be afraid," Schmitz said. "Think about that child, the outcome for them if they stayed in an unsafe environment, or if they came with you. Take that selfishness out the way. And take care of that child."
"For anyone that thinks adoptive parenthood is for them. First and foremost, make sure you get in contact with the foster care system to get licensed from them," Horlacher said.
After the adoption, Schmitz said nothing will change for her and Aria.
"Not to brag but she’s tremendous," she said. "She’s has a lot of people that care about her and will be there for her forever."
To date, National Adoption Day has facilitated the transition of over 75,000 children from foster care to permanent families.