In 1976, Massachusetts was the first states to declare a special week to recognize adoptions and the number of states declaring a special day increased until National Adoption Month was recognized in 1990. Our local Westmoreland County Commissioners proclaimed November 20, 2015, as National Adoption Day in Westmoreland County. While many areas of the law do not involve particularly happy hearings, an adoption hearing is certainly an exception to that rule. It is amazing to see the heartfelt testimony offered by adoptive parents who are so very excited to welcome children into their home. It was a wonderful experience for me to hear applause in a courtroom today when the Judge announced that an adoption was final!
My experience stems with the adoption process came through being a volunteer for CASA of Westmoreland, Inc. This organization trains and assists volunteers to be "court appointed special advocates" (CASA) for children who have been taken into care by the Westmoreland County Children's Bureau. A CASA volunteer concentrates on the needs of the child. Many times a child is caught in the middle of very complicated legal and emotional situations. As a volunteer, your goal is to be the one person who stays constant through the legal proceedings and agency actions which need to be taken to get that child returned to a safe home or to achieve permanent placement with a new family.
Quatrinini Rafferty supports CASA of Westmoreland, Inc., and encourages you to consider becoming a volunteer. You can contact me or my colleague, Attorney Jessica Rafferty, for more information on becoming a volunteer as we have both been volunteers since 2010. Another attorney in our office, Michael Quatrini, is active on the Board of Directors for CASA of Westmoreland, Inc.
There are many sad situations that result in matters that come before our courts, but I am happy to report that there are also many happy new beginnings on adoption day!