As families gather to celebrate the holiday season, I was reminded about a recent ceremony that recognized the heroic efforts of adoptive parents and their love in supporting their children.
The Connecticut State Capitol’s Hall of the Flags looked even more resplendent than usual, lined with American and State flags to proclaim a momentous occasion. And on a warm Friday afternoon in November, the American Dream came closer to the immigrant children and the new families that accepted them with open doors and warm hearts.
I was pleased and honored to be asked to participate in a tremendous and moving ceremony held last month at the CT State Capitol in honor of National Adoption Day. At this event the parents of adopted children, many from nations all over the world, were honored and recognized for their loving generosity of sharing, with the citizenship of these former foster children confirmed.
National Adoption Day, recognized on the third Saturday of November, was initiated in the year 2000 by the Alliance for Children’s Rights and has grown over the ensuing decade to be celebrated nationwide, with over 35,000 children having their adoptions finalized on that day. The Connecticut ceremony was sponsored by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Governor Dannel Malloy and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill were also on hand to extend their congratulations to those in attendance.
I found the ceremony particularly meaningful and poignant. As an immigrant myself who journeyed to this country with my parents from Taiwan, I recognized the expressions on the diverse set of faces throughout the audience. They reflected an embrace of the greatest nation on Earth, where opportunity, freedom, and prosperity are theirs to be had, if they wish to work and pursue it. As wonderful as that notion may be, the fact that these new Americans would be able to pursue their American Dream with the guidance, love and support of a new adoptive family will further the advantages these children have as they rise to meet the successes of life offered in the United States.
I had the opportunity to speak to a number of the families who were present that day. Among them were Ray Cagganello and his wife Kelley, who have adopted four beautiful girls from China. The young girls, Jia, Brooke, Kameron and Grayce were among those recognized in their new citizenship at the ceremony.
Mr. Cagganello summed up the event rather well. “Of all the terrible things happening in the world that routinely make the news, this is one of the great things out there that they ought to focus on,” he said. “This is one of the truly good things happening in the world that they ought to get the word out about.”
There remain over 107,000 children in the United States who are in foster care, who are waiting to be adopted, and welcomed as part of a “forever family.” For those foster children from other nations, they also look to be embraced by the larger American family. The hope we all share is that there will be a family for each child.
The circumstances that brought these children to their day of adoption and citizenship are just as varied as their ages and nations of origin, but they are symbols of America’s hope and future.
If you have ever considered becoming a foster parent or adopting a child there are many resources to help you get started along a path which will enrich the life of a young child, as well as your own. To start, you can visit the State’s Office of Foster and Adoption Services at www.ctfosteradopt.com
State Rep. Tony Hwang Rep Hwang represents the General Assembly’s 134th District covering parts of Trumbull and Fairfield. He is ranking member of the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee and a member of Appropriations and Environment committees. Tony is also a founding member of the bi-partisan CT Bioscience Caucus to advocate the growth of bioscience technology and industries in Connecticut.