Adoption Day: Children get gift of permanent, loving homes in Porter County

VALPARAISO, Ind. (WLS) -- Nearly two dozen children in northwest Indiana got the gift of a permanent, loving home on Tuesday.

For one day, the Indiana Supreme Court allowed media inside the courtroom for adoption proceedings in Porter County to help highlight the many children who are looking to be adopted.

It was part of the first-ever Adoption Day in Porter County, Indiana, a theme inspired by the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

Inside juvenile court, it's uncommon to see smiling and dancing, but Tuesday was a special day.

"It's just wonderful to see all these kids happy with permanent families," said Gwen Rinkenberger, the juvenile magistrate of Porter County Circuit Court who oversees adoption proceedings.

Megan Dalton, who adopted her three foster kids, said the day brought relief and excitement about moving forward as a family.

For several months, Megan and Michael Dalton were foster parents to siblings Michael, 10; Serenity, 8; and Jeanette, 7.

Earlier in the day, Kimberly and Jarrod Streets adopted Sophia and Helena, ages 1 and 2.

They decided to become foster parents last year after trying unsuccessfully to have children.

"There are so many kids who need a home already so we wanted to give them the chance to have a home," said Kimberly Streets.

More than 200 children are in foster care in Porter County, more kids than there are foster families. Case workers many times have to do what they can to place them.

"Some foster homes get a little overwhelmed because they'll have 3 or 4 children. When you have larger families that have 3 or 4 children or 6 children they try to place as many together as you can because you want to keep siblings together," said Robin Biggs, a court-appointed special advocate.

On Tuesday, a total of 20 kids were adopted by their foster parents.

Porter County plans to make Adoption Day an annual event. For many families, this will be the happiest day of the year.
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