65 Bay Area foster kids officially find families

November 21, 2009 6:06:54 PM PST
Saturday was a great day for some Bay Area kids, as 65 foster children were adopted as part of Alameda County's Tenth Annual Adoption Day. The event is designed to raise awareness and cut through some of the red tape involved in the adoption process.

Judges, social and county workers all volunteered to work Saturday so the children could start their new lives with their new adopted families.

From the time she was born, Veronica Stevenson and Anthony Thomas are the only parents 2-year-old Desiree has ever known. On Saturday, they made it legal. Desiree has been their foster daughter since she was just 7-days-old.

"It's all from the heart. I came up with a single-parent home. Someone has to step up," Thomas told ABC7.

"We just wanted her in the family," said Stevenson. "We didn't want to lose her."

They made it official during Alameda County's annual Adoption Day. 65 children who have lingered in the foster care system for years found stability by becoming a part of a family.

The Rochas have been waiting to adopt their son for nearly four years.

"This morning my wife said, 'I feel like I'm getting married.' I said, 'Maybe in a sense, we can say we're getting married to our son,'" said foster father Gabriel Rocha. "That commitment, that dedication? It's a special day."

For sisters Carmen and Fretea, Saturday had been nearly two decades in the making.

"I'm probably the oldest one here," said Fretea Sylver.

She is 19 and her sister is 18.

"I needed this to happen so I could officially say that 'This is my mother,'" said Carmen. "If anything else happens, anything with the court or anything, that's my mom."

The pair has lived with their foster mother their entire lives. Because of parental rights issues, Lola Holoman was not able to adopt the two girls years ago even though now, they are technically adults.

"My kids said, 'No. No. We want the permanent connection. We want people to never be able to say that you are not our mother,'" Holoman said.

On the fifth floor of the Alameda County court house, 24-year-old Veronica started a new phase of life, as a mother. It took only about 20 minutes to sign the papers, get the certificate and give Desiree a future.

There are nearly 2,000 children in Alameda County's foster care system, but there are only 210 foster families. The Department of Children's Services says the economy has hurt their efforts. Families are already struggling financially and cannot afford to take care of another child.


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