HOUGHTON - November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and as part of that recognition, Tuesday is Michigan Adoption Day during which local agencies conduct events to highlight the need for adoptive parents.
Susan O'Connell, adoption specialist for the Houghton County Family Court, said for years, Adoption Day in Michigan, now in its 11th year, has been recognized on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
"Different states celebrate in their own way," she said. "Michigan Adoption Day was set up to draw attention to children in foster care whose parents have lost parental rights. Children need and deserve permanency."
O'Connell said in 2013 only five adoptions were finalized in Houghton County, which is fewer than half of previous adoptions.
"Last year we probably had 11 or 12," she said.
The Michigan Adoption Day event will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Family Courtroom in the Houghton County courthouse at 401 East Houghton Ave. in Houghton.
O'Connell said Tuesday there will be court officials, Michigan Department of Human Services personnel and adoption agency personnel to assist people wanting information about the adoption process.
Also, it's possible there will be some adoptive parents at the event to provide information about adoption from their perspective.
According to information from DHS, in 2013 there were 13,402 children in foster care in the state. As of Sept. 30, 2,352 children were adopted.
Although not all children in foster care are adopted by their 18th birthday, O'Connell said they still get help from the county to live independently or possibly go to college.
It's also possible for an arrangement for adoption to be made with a birth mother without the child going into foster care.
However, O'Connell said some children are adopted as old as 17.
"Even older kids get adopted," she said.
O'Connell said Marquette County is the only other Upper Peninsula county conducting an Adoption Day event.
There are 23 to 25 children in foster care each month, O'Connell said. Of that number, two to four children each month are in a position to be adopted.
For more information about Michigan Adoption Day in Houghton, call Susan O'Connell at 482-0252.