Adoption is an option. What are you waiting for? (column) –

WEST OLIVE, MI Wearing smiles and neck ties, Keegan and Caleb sat on the lap of Ottawa County Probate Courts chief judge.

In the manner of minutes, gavel strikes and Judge Mark A. Feyens signature signaled the adoption of the two young boys into the Bogardus family joining Mom Rebecca, Dad Cam, older sister Audrey and older brother Jacob.

Moments later, they joined with 10 members of their extended family for photos.

Adoption is love. Adoption grows and creates families. Adoption is an option.

Have you thought about adoption? If so, what are you waiting for?

My familys been touched by adoption. It made me a father. If you need a nudge to adopt, here is your push.

Keegan, 6, and Caleb, 4, are among the many children who received their Forever Homes during Michigan Adoption Day on Tuesday.

Not long after officially becoming the parent of two more boys, Rebecca Bogardus was asked if she thinks people tend to overthink pursuing adoption or becoming a foster parent. She paused for a moment, and then smiled.

Just get the information, she said of her advice to others thinking about it. Its never going to be 100 percent.

Shes correct. Emotionally, financially, spiritually, youre never going to have everything perfectly in place. If youre a biological parent, did you have every single thing ready before you brought your child home from the hospital?

Stop overthinking it. Do you want to give a child a loving home? If so, then look into it.

Perhaps, youre the type of selfless person who can be a foster parent and provide a loving home in hopes that the child will eventually be reunified with his or her biological parents. That was the initial plan for Cam and Rebecca Bogardus.

Maybe, youre ready to be a foster parent with the plan of eventually adopting. Michigans foster care system features about 13,000 children, some who are ready for adoption now.

Possibly, youre primed to adopt an infant and work with a birth mother through the open adoption process. That was the case for the Meinema family who finalized the adoption of Tallulah Tuesday.

The world is filled with children who need parents. That could be you.

Adoption Day, like the one held in Ottawa County, is an annual event for many Michigan counties. The special hearings, open to the public and media, are designed to draw attention to adoption and the need. Kent Countys event is scheduled for Dec. 5.

Adoption Day is an inspiring event. Unless youre a doctor or RN, we dont get many opportunities to see the exact moment when a child becomes part of a family. For many of us, that happens in a hospital room at the instant were born.

On Adoption Day, we get to see it happen.

Parents shed tears, share heartwarming stories and describe the joys and the struggles.

The judge pointed out that Thanksgiving week is the perfect time to hold these adoption confirmation hearings because adoption and the children being placed in adoptive homes are worth being thankful for.

If youve been thinking about it, now is the time. Dont let another year go by and you read about Michigans 2020 Adoption Day. The Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange is a good place to start.

Your son or daughter could be living with a foster family or just being born. Your son or daughter could be thousands of miles away in another country or just down the street.

Your child is waiting for you.

Eric Gaertner is the news leader for MLive/The Grand Rapids Press.

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Adoption is an option. What are you waiting for? (column) -

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