“I’ve always wanted a little brother. He’s been my little brother ever since he came home. Today just makes it official,” James R. Broyles said referring to his newly adopted brother, Solomon, during Saturday’s National Adoption Day celebration at the George Jaynes Justice Center in Jonesborough.
Adopting families, children and other family members packed tight into a second-floor courtroom around 10 a.m., as Chancellor John C. Rambo, state Sen. Rusty Crowe, Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal, Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes, state Rep. Matthew Hill and others spoke to the crowd.
Rambo said earlier that morning that National Adoption Day started about 12 years ago to recognize the value and necessity of adoptions, to celebrate foster parenting and promote adoption among families in our society.
“The Adoption Day celebration in Jonesborough today is the first Northeast Tennessee National Adoption Day celebration event,” he said. “We’re going to do actual adoptions and have a special Chancery Court session ... just to accomplish adoptions. We have 12 families and those 12 families will be adopting one or more children.”
While the adoption process varies from short waiting periods with infant adoptions to a more complicated adoption where a parent surrenders custody or has had their parental rights terminated, Rambo said each adoption is thought out and researched and the necessary background checks, as well as home visits, are completed before a petition for adoption is approved.
He said Saturday’s exclusive adoption docket — which included the adoption of children ranging in age from 2 to late teens — was a happy day, as opposed to what is usually takes place in a courtroom setting.
“You see a lot of conflict in the courtroom. You see a lot of people who would rather be any place but in a courtroom having a case heard that involved them. This is the opposite,” Rambo said. “This day is where new families are created and children ... who have been in situations that they did not deserve, who have overcome or been in circumstances that a lot of people just could not relate to, are now getting a fresh start with people who want them and love them. Tennessee is the No. 1 state in adoptions and this is the type of thing that we want to do to promote and to raise awareness of adoption, so that we continue to be No. 1 in the country.”
Wanting to make Adoption Day as memorable as possible, families and their children, after finishing their adoption inside the courtroom, could enjoy light refreshments in the lobby area. Outside the justice center, kids and family members could also tour a fire truck, see inside a crime investigation van and look into the other emergency-services vehicles on display for the event.
Standing outside of the courtroom area, the Broyles family — James D., Jill and their sons, James R. and Solomon –– talked about being one of 12 families whose petitions for adoption were granted Saturday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Jill said. “It’s just exciting to finally have it behind us. (Solomon) needed us.”
While James D. said the adoption was a happy time for the family and James R. said he can’t wait to show his little brother how to hunt, Jill said the event was nice to share with the other families.
“It just makes me happy to know there’s people out there that care enough to take on someone else’s child to raise them,” she said. “I didn’t know that there were that many.”
Jeanine McIntosh, of Telford, had four pairs of feet following her out of the courtroom, as she beamed with excitement from her adoption hearing.
“I got my four grandchildren who were being neglected,” McIntosh said. “They had no real permanent home, and through the state of Tennessee, I was able to get them back. They needed a safe place to call home and I’ve done everything I’ve known to do to make sure they have that.”
The adoption of her grandchildren — Colten, 6, Casey, 4, and twins Charlie and Carly, 2½ — was something McIntosh said was “a miracle.”
“I couldn’t sleep last night because I kept thinking about today and I knew it was going to be permanent today. My mind’s kind of spinning this morning I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s just amazing ... the support that you can get ...that’s out there. Anybody that would want to adopt a child, I recommend it. Yes, there is some work involved ... but it’s worth every bit of it. I would do it all over again ... and not because they’re my grandchildren, but for any child. I would do it all over again.”
While their post-Adoption Day plans were still up in the air, McIntosh said there was one thing she was positive of.
“We’re going to celebrate,” she said.