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Adoption Month continues in Genesee County despite pandemic

Take a look at how the judge and her team are making sure the adoption process is still happening. More than 90 local kids now have a forever home.
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 5:23 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (11/25/2020) - It’s National Adoption Month in Michigan.

And this week, ABC12 typically gets to show you the joy of the adoption process happening inside Mid-Michigan courtrooms.

But, like so much in our lives, the coronavirus pandemic is halting in-person ceremonies.

It’s not stopping the court from placing local kids with their forever families, though.

“It’s been strange, but I’m kind of getting used to it,” Hon. Jennie Barkey explained. “And you know what, last year at this time I think we had like 90 adoptions. We have done more adoptions this year than last year.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the Genesee County Judge has been forced to finalize adoptions over a Zoom video conference.

It’s not ideal, but she said it hasn’t taken away the tears.

Hon. Barkey shared the story of one teenager whose aunt and uncle adopted him after his parents both died.

“He just broke down and just, just, it just like he went all the way through -- all the, you know, all the grief, all the happiness, all the guilt he feels being happy… told me it all came together, thanked me, it was very nice,” she shared.

The process may have never happened as quickly if it weren’t for the technology; because Judge Barkey said, the boy’s aunt and uncle live in Oregon. They couldn’t travel here with the pandemic.

“In a crazy way, we can get more stuff done,” Hon. Barkey said.

Right now there are 611 kids in foster care in Genesee County. 51 of them are ready and in need of a family willing to give them a home.

These are kids you’ve heard about each night on ABC12 -- kids who have been abused, abandoned, dealt with the unimaginable.

“A lot of them haven’t had childhoods, and they have a chance to give that child a childhood. So maybe all the damage that’s been done to them up to this point in time -- not erased, but found a way to live with it,” the Judge explained.

She hopes more people in the community will step up and open their homes to give kids that chance.

“I’m always kind of impressed how much love can conquer,” she added.

If you’re considering becoming a foster parent, Hon. Barkey said you need to contact the State Health Department. Click here for the five steps.

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