A record crowd of over 550 adoptive family members and well wishers crowded the OnCenter ballroom as Onondaga County celebrated its 10th National Adoption Day on Nov. 20.
Fifty-one adoptees, from 7 months to 20 years old, officially became members of 38 families in individual ceremonies presided over by eleven judges representing Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida and Oswego Counties.
The Hon. James Tormey officiated over the main cere3mony ceremony. Judge Tormey, Administrative Judge of the 5th Judicial District, pointed out that in the past decade, over 250,000 children have been adopted on National Adoption Day nationwide, but said that there are still 500,000 in foster care across the country, and over 20,000 in the Central New York area. There are currently some 129,000 youngsters who have been cleared for adoption nationwide.
Attorney Kevin Harrigan chaired the fourteen member committee that coordinated the event that featured remarks by County Executive Joanie Mahoney and adoptee Josh Orsino.
Mahoney recounted that it is "wonderful to be in a community so willing to open their hearts."
Orsino, attending with his adoptive father Steve, called adoption "an incredible act of compassion that provides unconditional love -- a sense of belonging and being loved." He said that he hopes "every child in need of a family can find the love that I have."
Judge Martha Walsh Hood, a major force in the adoption community, delivered the closing remarks, thanking all who participated and contributed to the success of the annual event. She finished by reading an anonymous poem that pays tribute to the birth mother and adoptive mothers of children, closing with the lines:
Heredity or environment,
which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling, neither,
just two different kinds of love.