Maria, Kylie, Aliyah, and Francisco Javier Pedroza are officially a family. Credit: Belen Ward

Adams County Human Services lead adoption case worker, Christie Talkington said she couldn’t have found a better place to start than with the Pedrozas.

The Adams County family of seven grew by two more Nov. 16, formalizing their adoption of Kylie, 8, and Aliyah,11, in a ceremony at the Adams County Human Services and 17th Judicial District offices in Brighton. It was part of National Adoption Day.

The two girls were among a group of 16 kids to find their new families at the ceremony.

It was incredibly touching for Talkington; she had been working with the Pedroza family for five years while the girls were in foster care.

“They are little lights,” Talkington said of the two girls. “It helps me be a good case worker and helped me grow up, too.”

Talkington and all of the Pedroza family cried joyfully as Kylie and Aliyah officially joined the family.

“I’m very excited,” said Francisco Javier Pedroza, the girl’s father. “Aliyah brings smiles, and Kylie cares about people.”

The two have been a part of the large family for some time, and the Thursday afternoon ceremony made that permanent.

“I’m very happy now, nobody can take them away,” said Maria Pedroza, the girl’s mother. “Kylie is very caring, and Aliyah is really smart.”

Aliyah, 11 in the middle clutching a teddy bear and Kylie, 8, third from the right in a peach dress, are surrounded by their mom, dad, five of their six new brothers and sisters, and Grandma. Credit: Belen Ward

Adams County joined more than 400 communities nationwide in celebrating adoptions from foster care on Nov. 16 across the country. According to officials, children spend two years on average in foster care before being adopted.

National Adoption Day exists to draw special attention to the 113,000 children in foster care across the country, waiting for permanent and loving families. From its inception in 2000, the annual one-day event has celebrated more than 75,000 adoptions.

Adams County hopes to complete Adams County 130 adoptions by the end of the year.

Favorite job

Adams County Chief Judge Donald Quick noted that it’s one of his favorite jobs as a judge. Judges frequently send people to prison and perform marriage ceremonies.

“But for every judge in this room, the one thing as a judge that brings us the most joy is adoptions, where we’re able to help people become families; it’s the judge’s role today,” Quick said.

It’s a formality, he said. His role is to legally acknowledge the new family. But the work building the family began long before he was involved.

“When we perform adoptions, legally we are creating and expanding families,” Quick said. “But the people in this room have already opened their hearts and homes and created their families.”

National Adoption Day was launched in 1999 and officially designated on Nov. 18, 2000. Since then, the annual collaborative community effort has helped to bring to attention the more than 113,000 children currently in U.S. foster care waiting for adoption.

Partners include the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Alliance for Children’s Rights and Children’s Action Network, and the Freddie Mac Foundation.

Over 400 communities across the county, along with Adams County, joined to help children find a forever home and celebrate the adoptions from foster.

“To the parents in this room, I want to thank you for your strength, and your courage to accept the responsibility of changing the life of the child that’s in the room,” said Quick.

Judge Quick advised the children to remember this day when their parents inevitably embarrass them. He joked that his father liked to mow the front lawn in dark dress socks and work shoes.

“I’d pray that nobody I knew would come by the house. Luckily, I lived on a dead-end street, so there wasn’t anybody I knew on my street traffic,” Quick said. “But I hope that when you do become teenagers and they embarrass you, you remember your parents had a choice and of all the children in the world – they chose you.”

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