Connected at the heart: Shelby County DHR celebrates National Adoption Month

The Shelby County Department of Human Resources celebrated National Adoption Month on Thursday, Nov. 6. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

The Shelby County Department of Human Resources celebrated National Adoption Month on Thursday, Nov. 6. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA–A day for celebration and awareness took place Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Shelby County Department of Human Resources to celebrate the annual Adoption Day and the lives and families that are positively impacted every year through the process of adoption.

A handful of speakers were on hand to share their personal experiences from either adopting a child, being adopted or involved in behind the scenes work in which it takes to find a foster child a home.

Miss Patriot’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Mary Grace Long shared her thoughts on why she has so much respect for people who choose to adopt and what it means when a child is united with a family.

“Family isn’t about DNA or the blood you share, family is all about being connected at the heart,” said Long. “I don’t love my siblings or parents because I have to or because I share the same DNA as they do, I love them because they are my family.”

The Shelby County DHR helped arrange 24 adoptions this past year and another five adoptions are scheduled to take place Nov. 21.

Traci Newell, representative from Lifeline Adoptions, praised the work the Shelby County DHR does and emphasized there will always be a need for adoption and foster care.

“We have had such a strong partnership with Shelby County DHR in our foster care program,” said Newell. “We hope to work with Shelby County DHR as long as foster care exists and that will be until Christ returns so it’s going to be a long relationship.”

Later in the program, members from Shelby County DHR, Lifeline and other agencies went outside to release butterflies as a symbol for much of what the adoption process is like.

Shelby County Department of Human Resources Director Kim Mashego explained the releasing of the butterflies and how a butterfly’s life so very similar to that of the adoption process.

“We release the butterflies because there are families out there waiting,” said Mashego. “When a butterfly is in it’s cocoon stage it is waiting to be released, once it has hatched the butterfly is then able to be free and allowed to grow.”