November 18 – CLARK COUNTY – Four of the five McClanahan children entered Clark Circuit Court 4 on Friday dressed in brand new clothes.
Elizabeth, Alhana and Emma wore matching teal, burgundy and lilac dresses.
Damion wore a bright red sweater, and their older sister, Taigin, was sick at home, but very much in their parents’ hearts.
The children already know them, as Patrick and Stephanie McClanahan have cared for them for almost six years.
After a short hearing, Circuit Court 4 Judge Vicki L. Carmichael officially declared them family members, even though they always have been.
“These kids have been through so much and just me,” Stephanie said. “I’m so glad it’s over, they’re home now.”
The McClanahan children have a new surname and a stable, loving home.
“She’s going to make me cry just to talk about it,” Patrick said.
November is National Adoption Month and something special happens every year at the Clark County Justice Center that doesn’t happen at any other local courthouse. On adoption day, there is a large reception in the hallway near Clark Circuit Court 4 and cameras are allowed in the courtroom to capture the joy.
This year 20 families participated in the festivities and saw their adoptions finalized.
“I think this day is special because it’s something in our area, it’s the only county that’s doing this,” McClanahan’s attorney Claire Hagedorn said. “November is adoption month, but Clark County is the only county that sets aside a special day and does all the adoptions that day. It’s really special for my clients to be able to come in when all these clients arrive. .Adoptions are a party all the time, but doing it in this big party is fun.”
Hagedorn said the adoption process can be complicated, which is part of why Friday’s event is so special.
“I have three adoptions today, seven kids in total,” she said.
The US Children’s Bureau said that in 2021 there were more than 114,000 children awaiting adoption who were at risk of aging in foster care without any permanent family ties. On average, children wait 34 months to be adopted.
For the McClanahans, that day has been a long time coming.
Both Stephanie and Patrick said the children had been abused and neglected.
“They saw a lot of things they shouldn’t see. The world is a lousy place, they may have seen their fair share of lousy,” Patrick said.
Patrick is the children’s maternal grandfather.
“For the sake of the kids, they need a place they know is theirs, it’s their home, they’re not in limbo anymore,” he said. “That’s what’s exciting today is that we know, and now they know, there’s no fluttering, there’s no back and forth – is- what’s going to happen, whether it’s not going to happen, it’s a matter of security.”
For Damion, 9, he said he enjoyed the welcome after the adoption.
Next, the family will work on the spelling of the children’s new surname.
“It’s something we’ve been working on, spelling,” Patrick said.
#families #adopt #children #Clark #County #Friday