Coronavirus has disrupted our everyday lives, especially when it comes to child adoptions. But with determination and the help of technology, children have found a way to their forever homes.
On June 30, Terri Nakamura finalized the adoption of her three children using Zoom. The siblings were connected to Nakamura through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, a program run by the Children’s Home Society of Washington and funded by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Nakamura’s foster children, 9-year-old Michael, 8-year-old Roman and 6-year-old Lilliana, have lived with her in Port Orchard for more than three years. After two unsuccessful adoptions with other families, Nakamura made the decision to pursue adoption. But when COVID-19 hit, it delayed the entire process.
“Worried it wasn’t going to happen this year, but our team really worked hard. Figured out ways to get paperwork done, meet outside their offices, with masks on,” said Nakamura.
The pandemic changed the adoption process. Children's Home Society of Washington added new safety measures to continue their mission of finding children forever homes. These included virtual meetings and socially distant check-ins.
“People had to kind of pause and catch up and figure out how do we move forward because we can’t just stop a child’s life,” said Courtney Angeles, CHSW Director of Adoption Services.
Using video conference calls, the organization has helped to finalize 16 adoptions, including Nakamura's.
“With such uncertain times, children in foster care have already lived in limbo so long, being able to match them with homes and get them adopted brings a sense of security,” said Angeles.
Born in Hawaii, Nakamura was able to share this special day virtually with family and friends in California, Canada, Washington, and her home state. She also made T-shirts to recognize her family blending together and to honor her children’s Native American heritage.
“I wanted to make it a day where everybody could celebrate with us, even if it was a celebration in their own home, so we were able to come together,” said Nakamura.
It was a socially distant celebration for Nakamura, who has three older biological children as well. Now she's a proud mother of six, and her children range in age from 6 to 27 years old. Nakamura says the pandemic has brought them even closer, to focus on what really matters.
“You have to help others and you care for others and you don’t think of just yourself, you think of others,” said 6-year-old Lilliana.
© 2020 Cox Media Group