To quote the National Adoption Day website: "National Adoption Day is a national day of celebration of adoptive families and an opportunity for courts to open their doors and finalize the adoptions of children from foster care. Since 2000, more than 30,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day." That's pretty darn impressive.
On November, 20th, my very good friend Jennifer and her husband Erik adopted adopted their wonderful children Maria and Alex at the Cass County Courthouse in Fargo, North Dakota. The kiddos had been in foster care the last few years (with a super great family) and became part of the Ludlow family earlier this year with intention of being adopted. Prior to Maria and Alex's arrival, Jennifer and Erik fostered a two other children and may open up their house to more kids in the future. I'm amazed every day by their big hearts and open arms. They are wonderful parents and Maria and Alex are very lucky to have awesome people like them in their lives.
For the last few years, I've photographed foster children for the Heart Gallery of North Dakota, a non-profit organization that uses photography to help foster children find their forever homes. It has been such an honor to get to know these kids whose ages range from toddler to teenage. Alex and Maria were photographed by my good friend Katie Lewis (photo below with ribbon) as part of the 2009 Heart Gallery.
I am so honored to have documented their special day. Without further ado, photographs...The actual adoption finalization all happened in the courtroom... with question, after question, after question on the stand. That being said, the entire courtroom couldn't help but tear up when judge Irby asked Jennifer "Will you love these children with all your heart?" Jennifer replied "yes". Nine children found their forever families on National Adoption Day. After all the legal stuff, they held a very nice reception to celebrate the momentous occasion. There was some really touching words said by the judges as well as a couple teenagers who had been adopted. Jennifer and Erik also said a few words. Following the reception, everybody went outside and released a handful of balloons. It was a bit cold, but Alex and Maria handled it well. Congratulations Alex and Maria!