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Local families growing during National Adoption Month

Some families across Indiana are getting a little bit bigger just in time for the holidays!

November is National Adoption Month, and on Friday, families in Elkhart County are going in front of the court to finalize their adoptions.

One family we spoke to went through this process the week before in St. Joseph County. Tamala and Mike Evans have been fostering in St. Joseph County for almost three years. But now, they’re celebrating their recent adoption.

The new mother of one year old Kenlie told us, “It was absolutely amazing. We had about 70 people there to celebrate the adoption and her first birthday. It was awesome.”

But, a year ago when they picked up their adorable little girl, they had no plans of adopting her.

Tamala continued, “We picked up Miss Kenlie at Memorial Hospital at 2 days old. It was love at first sight, honestly, and within a few months her birth parents realized their limitations and the fact that they were unable to keep or provide for her. So, when we were presented with the opportunity to adopt, we obviously jumped on that.”

But not all fostering ends with adoption.

Mike added, “I don’t think we originally went in to fostering to adopt. I think, we did do the classes to be a pre-adoptive family, but I think a lot of our reasoning had to do with just helping kids in need.”

The Evans tell us that in two and a half years, they have fostered thirteen children, for as little as two weeks to as long as sixteen months.

Mike said, “It’s hard to watch kids go back to their birth parents, it is. But having that mindset of just going in to it to help the kids, that’s the mindset to have going in to it.”

And Mary Ellen Hanback, the DCS Regional Licensing Specialist agrees.

“Some people come to fostering to adopt only. But some people just want to help. We have people who have their own biological children, a couple people who have adopted children from China and are still fostering here. It just depends. Some people just want to give kids a temporary place to stay until it’s safe for them to return home.”

So, for anyone considering getting involved with foster care or adoption,  Mike says to get rid of any preconceived notions.

“They have these preconceived notions that you have to have a palace of a house with a bunch of rooms or they have to have an abundance of money, but you just have to have a loving home and a heart to do it, that’s it.”

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