Lincoln, Lancaster County highlight importance of adoption

Lincoln and Lancaster County hosted their 13th annual National Adoption Day event Saturday.

The goal: to raise awareness of the thousands of foster children waiting to find permanent families.

"These were children who were removed from their natural parents for a variety of reasons…where the reunification efforts with the parents were not successful," said Lancaster County Juvenile Court Judge Roger Heideman.

After a child is with a foster family for at least six months, they can be adopted, given a permanent home and family.

Awareness isn’t the only purpose the event serves.  Because it’s annually held on Saturdays, it’s also a convenient opportunity for families to have their adoption hearings.

Twenty-three Lancaster County kids were adopted Saturday, including 12–year–old Charlie Horton.

Charlie had been staying with the Horton foster family for a year.  Today, she officially joined their family.

The Hortons already have five kids of their own, but that doesn’t hinder their desire to take a new one in.

"It’s something that’s always been in my heart," Brooke Horton said.  "I’ve always felt that that was something we could do…a way to bless someone else."

"I don’t want any kid to grow up thinking that they’re not wanted, that they’re not loved, that they don’t have a future," Chuck Horton said.   "I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that every kid knows that there’s a purpose for them to be here. "

This event wants to get more people to think like that.

"We always need more good families that are going to open their hearts and homes to these kids," Judge Heideman said.  "…They may be going back to their parents someday, because that’s the ultimate goal when these cases open.  But in the event they’re not, they at least have stability and permanency for these kids in the long term."