Celebrating adoptive families and marking 10th anniversary of National Adoption Day, courtrooms around the country opened their doors to finalize the adoptions of children from foster care. The Camden County Surrogate's Office held a luncheon and a reception in their offices on Friday as the judge signed final adoption orders, granting parents permanent, legal custody of their children.
Brand new dad Walter Russell of Monroe Township turned a cubicle into a feeding station as he found a quiet spot to give a bottle to seven month old son Christian. Mom is Eileen Bertolino-Russell.
New mom Susan Moran, right, of Egg Harbor City held ten month old Ethan for a kiss by grandfather Frank Bosco.
Ten year old Tyaheek takes a snapshot of his parents, David and Edwina Johnson of Atco.
John Minard of Collingswood eats lunch with son Christopher and two year old daughter Mimi, whose adoption was about to be finalized. Mom Valerie was off getting them napkins. Christopher, seven years old, was adopted as a baby.
Nine month old Joshua, at grandmother Carol Viscusi's feet, joins his brothers on the floor during the reception. Siblings are four year old Vincent six year old Nicholas, front. Not shown is a fourth brother, nine year old Dominic and their parents, William and Renee Viscusi of Havertown.
I went to the Surrogate's Office (they perform same function as Orphans Court in Pennsylvania) thinking I would be photographing a mass finalization ceremony - something like the huge naturalization swearings courts usually do on Law Day.
I showed up to find kids and parents spilling out of office cubicles, eating hoagie slices and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
It wasn't exacttly the formal parenthood rite I'd envisioned, but there was no doubt it was a scene all about family.