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Finding forever: 8 local children find homes ahead of holiday season

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Nikki Silva holds her son Grayson in the East Courtroom at the Grayson County Courthouse Friday just moments before his adoption was finalized.

Several area families welcomed new members in the east courtroom of the Grayson County courthouse Friday as the area held its annual National Adoption Month celebration.

National Adoption Month is held in November every year and every year the local Child Welfare Board, local CPS workers and court personnel work together to bring off several adoptions on one day in celebration of the love the makes new families for children who find themselves in need of them.

"This is a day that gives kids permanency, and they officially join their forever home," said Child Protective Services Regional Manager Robin Bethel before the ceremonies began. 

It is a perfect way to kick off the holiday season with a celebration of love and family, she said.

This year, Bethel said there were eight children who were being adopted and six adoptive families being celebrated. All of those children were either fostered to adoption or were adopted by family members.

Nikki Silva and her son Grayson stand before Judge Cheryl Vaughan in the East Courtroom at the Grayson County Courthouse Friday.

One of those adoptive parents was Nikki Silva, a theater and debate teacher at Denison High School.

"He is just a miracle baby," she said of 17-month-old Grayson who officially became her son on Friday though he has lived with her since he was 13 days old. Grayson was born premature and weighed only 4.5 pounds when she brought him home from the hospital.

Grayson was not the first child that Silva had fostered, but she had been taking a break from it when she prayed about it. She said it felt like it was time for her to get back into fostering when adoption worker Debra Brown called her and told her about the little boy who was already at a local hospital.

Judge Cheryl Vaughan oversees a ZOOM hearing adoption in the East courtroom at the Grayson County courthouse Friday.

The single mom said the day seemed kind of surreal Friday.

"I can't imagine loving a child that I gave birth to anymore than I would love him. I've been there for every single moment of his life and I am all he knows and every first has been with me. I am just excited. I am excited for all of the possibilities still to come,"  Silva said.

She has known for months that he was probably going to be her son but nothing felt as good as knowing Friday afternoon that he finally was hers forever. 

Silva said it was heartbreaking when the child she had fostered before left her home, but her experience as a teacher over the past 20 years had taught her a lot about loving children as her own even though they weren't hers. 

All of that heartbreak, she said is worth it though when the love she is able to give them, for whatever time she had them either in her class or her home, makes them stronger better people. 

Robin Bethel, on the left, and friend arrange decorations at the National Adoption Month celebration at the Grayson County courthouse Friday.

"As tell people who ask me about foster care, it is the beautiful, wonderful, painful, terrible thing I've every done. But I would not change a moment of it — even the loss. I would not change it because I know that I made a significant difference in the lives of these children, whether its forever or just a season."

She said for now, she is going to concentrate just on raising Grayson but she is going to keep her foster certification up to date and continue to pray to God about his plan for their family and just see where he leads them. 

Bethel said there are 11 foster children in Grayson County awaiting forever homes. She said there are 165 child is foster care through Grayson County and 46 of them are placed in Grayson County.

"We always need more foster families," Bethel said.

She said foster care and adoption through foster care is open to both single people and couples. 

It takes about six months to be come licensed to be a foster parent. 

Judge Cheryl Vaughan, in the black robe in the middle, stands with local CPS and staff and attorneys during a celebration of National Adoption Month at the Grayson County Courthouse Friday.