Celebrating adoptions: Celebration honors adoptive, foster parents

Published 4:19 pm Friday, November 22, 2013


COLUMBIANA – Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister celebrates National Adoption Month every year by holding an “adoption day” in his courtroom, where he finalizes adoptions all day long.

“I was adopted out of a children’s home when I was six weeks old,” Fuhrmeister said at a National Adoption Month celebration Nov. 21, where he was the guest speaker. “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday … and for me, that’s what adoption is. Adoption is a time of Thanksgiving. For me, personally, adoption is an opportunity. I don’t know how I would have turned out had I not been adopted.”

At the celebration Nov. 21, which was held at the Columbiana public library, Shelby County Department of Human Resources employees, foster families, adoptive parents and other supporters of adoption gathered to celebrate kids getting permanent homes through adoption.

One of those kids with a new, permanent home is 16-year-old Nicole Ledbetter, who attends Thompson High School. Nicole attended the adoption month celebration with her mom, Lisa Ledbetter, who officially adopted Nicole Nov. 14.

“We started being foster parents three and a half years ago,” Lisa Ledbetter said. “(Nicole) came to live with us two years ago, and when we found out that she was going to be available for adoption, it was just sort of natural that we would adopt her because she was just a part of our family. We didn’t set out to adopt a teenager, but we just fell in love with her, and it was just natural that she would stay.”

Nicole said it felt amazing to be adopted and she couldn’t imagine life without her new family.

“I can’t explain (how it feels),” Nicole said. “You’ve got a family, someone who loves you and just is there forever now. It’s amazing.”

More than 5,000 children are currently being cared for by the state, with 110 children in foster care in Shelby County, said Shelby County DHR Resource Supervisor David Lee. During the last year, 513 of those 5,000 children were adopted, Lee said.

Fuhrmeister praised the “the opportunities and the love (provided) by the DHR workers, the foster parents and the adoptive parents.”

“The impact that you are having is so much greater than you can really see or imagine,” he said. “There are no greater people on the face of the earth. God bless every one of you.”