Hope Albanese was 20 years old when she finally found a family.
"Now, I feel like when I break up with a boyfriend or when I get in a car accident or when I don't have money for rent, I have somebody to call," said Albanese, who was adopted by Bonnelyn Albanese four years ago. "I feel like I have a family."
Albanese spoke as part of a ceremony to celebrate National Adoption Day, held Friday Nov. 14, part of National Adoption Month, which is celebrated every November. Nationwide, the adoptions of 3,500 children were finalized in the annual event, including 37 in Central New York. Since the inception of National Adoption Day in 2001, 25,000 children have gone to permanent homes.
"Our hearts are filled with joy for these children and for the power that this day has in raising awareness of the overwhelming number of children still waiting for a loving home," said Rita Sorenson, executive director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, one of the founders of Adoption Day. "Experiencing the joy of National Adoption Day reminds us all of what we can accomplish and drives us further toward our goal of finding a home for every child."
National Adoption Day got its start in 2001 as an effort to publicize the need for adoptive families, raise awareness about the number of children in foster care, communicate the availability of and need for post-adoptive services, build collaboration among local adoption agencies, courts and advocacy organizations and celebrate all families who adopt. Since that time, the celebration has grown from just nine events -- including one in Syracuse -- to more than 300 in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Here in Syracuse, children from across Central New York -- the event included families from five counties -- 37 children were adopted, finally finding their permanent homes.