This blog was adapted from a story by Tracey Leong of KIRO 7 News in Seattle, Washington.
Terri Nakamura fostered siblings Michael, Roman and Lilliana for more than three years. After two unsuccessful adoptions with other families, Nakamura made the decision to pursue adoption. But when COVID-19 hit, it delayed the process.
“I worried it wasn’t going to happen this year,” said Nakamura.
Fortunately, with support from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program and the Children’s Home Society of Washington, Nakamura was able to finalize the adoption of her three children via Zoom on June 30.
“People had to kind of pause and catch up and figure out how do we move forward because we can’t just stop a child’s life,” said Courtney Angeles, Director of Adoption Services at Children’s Home Society of Washington. The agency added new safety measures, including virtual meetings and socially distant check-ins.
Children’s Home Society of Washington has helped to finalize 16 virtual adoptions, including Nakamura’s.
Angeles shared that during this uncertain time, achieving permanency is more important than ever. “Children in foster care have already lived in limbo for so long. Being able to match them with homes and get them adopted brings a sense of security,” she added.
Born in Hawaii, Nakamura was able to share this special day virtually with family and friends in California, Canada, Washington and her home state. She also made t-shirts to recognize her family blending together and to honor her children’s Native American heritage.
“I wanted to make it a day where everybody could celebrate with us, even if it was a celebration in their own home, so we were able to come together,” said Nakamura.
It was a socially distant celebration for Nakamura, who has three older biological children as well. Now, she’s a proud mother of six, and her children range in age from 6 to 27 years old. Nakamura says the pandemic has brought them even closer to focus on what really matters.
“You have to help others and care for others,” said 6-year-old Lilliana. “You don’t think of just yourself, you think of other people.”
More than 125,000 children are waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States. No child should face a crisis like COVID-19 without a family. Give now to help find a safe, permanent home for every child.