Markman: ‘only winners on Adoption Day’Published 6:53pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman reliably delivers rule of law opinions.
But not usually flowers.
Yet there he was in Cass County Circuit Court Tuesday, presenting each Adoption Day family with a rose while marveling at bobbing balloons.
“I must say Cass County is distinguished by its number of balloons in the courtroom,” Markman said. “I’ve been in many courtrooms around the state and it’s not every day that we see balloons. There’s no event I look forward to more than Adoption Day. Cass County has demonstrated as strong a commitment as any county in our state. Finalizing an adoption is one of the very few undiluted happy events that occurs in a courtroom. In most cases we deal with there are winners and losers. There are only winners on Adoption Day.”
Markman said some 2,000 adoptions have been finalized on Adoption Day.
“Parents said to those 2,000 children, ‘We want you in our lives and we will care for you and love you forever.’ It’s a permanent process. This year around the state there will be another 200 adoptions adding to the estimated 3,000 adoptions in Michigan this year and roughly 25,000 adoptions that have taken place since Adoption Day’s inception in 2003.”
“On this day each year,” the jurist added, “most will take place in public view of the media because the parents allowed it. I thank the parents because by virtue of making this a public process, it may inspire other persons throughout the state to look at the process, understand its availability and possibly be inspired themselves.”
November is National Adoption Month. “To the best of my knowledge, Michigan’s Adoption Day is the largest such event in the country,” Markman said.
There are 14,000 children who are wards of the state, including 3,000 to 4,000 “who want and need adoption for permanent, secure and loving homes. Foster care has proven a godsend for children who are not safe in their own homes. Half of these children spend at least two years in foster care, sometimes moving among at least two to three placements. This type of dislocating, wrenching experience can have lasting consequences.”
“Today we share in the joy of these children before us,” Markman said. “This is a watershed event in the lives of these families. This will only be the first of many Thanksgivings these new families celebrate each other.”
Thirty-three of Michigan’s 83 counties observe Adoption Day.
Prosecutor Victor Fitz introduced Markman, “one of my heroes. He was re-elected with approximately 60 prosecutors overwhelmingly rallying around him, both Republicans and Democrats. If you don’t have justices who protect the public, you can have real havoc on the streets.”