Cass County celebrates 13th annual adoption day
Published 8:47 am Friday, November 27, 2015
Since taking in their granddaughter Madison when she was just two months old, Niles’ Scott and Mary Lynn Wurster have had their lives turned upside down.
The former empty nesters were suddenly once again tasked with all the upheavals that come with raising an infant, including finding daycare (as both still have full-time jobs), baby proofing their residence and, of course, attending to their baby whenever she wakes up in the middle of the night.
“She runs the house now,” Mary Lynn said. “And we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The couple officially adopted Madison into their home Tuesday afternoon, before Cass County Probate Judge Susan Dobrich and dozens of beaming onlookers lining the seats of the courtroom inside the county Law and Courts Building in Cassopolis.
The now 18-month-old was one of six children who found their “forever family” that afternoon, as the county celebrated the 13th annual Michigan Adoption Day Tuesday. Cass was one of more than 30 counties across the state participating in the event, which is designed not just to celebrate the adoption of local children into their new families but to highlight the community at large about the need for permanent homes for more than 15,000 children currently in foster care in Michigan.
Among those in attendance during the ceremony that afternoon was Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman, who told audiences it’s the day of the year he looks forward to most since “there’s only winners today.”
“One by one, in courtrooms across our state this week, another child becomes part of a new relationship in which there are parents, siblings and relatives — the kinds of experiences that can only develop within the ancient institution of the family,” Markman said.
For the Wursters, Tuesday marked the end of a more than yearlong process to permanently adopt young Madison into their household.
Before taking custody of their granddaughter, who was formerly living with her father, the couple was concerned that relearning the skills needed to rear a child would be slow going, they said. However, after immediately responding to Madison’s late night cries shortly after taking her in, Scott said he knew he and Mary Lynn had little to worry about.
“If anyone is worried, these skills all come back to you,” Scott said. “It’s just like riding a bike. You don’t even think about it, you just act.”
They had Madison in their home only a few weeks before deciding to make her stay a permanent one, working with the Department of Human Services and the county to complete the background checks and other steps needed to formalize the adoption.
Like many other caregivers in their position, the Wursters have learned that one of the most important roles they will play in Madison’s life is to provide her with a sense of permanency — that she will always have a pair of loved ones to share her life with.
“Without a certain level of attachment, kids don’t develop properly,” Scott said. “They need to belong, they need a connection. They need a family.”