NEW BRUNSWICK – The children came from as far as China and Colombia, and the parents came from as far as Virginia to celebrate the completion of eight adoptions at the Middlesex County Courthouse on Wednesday as part of National Adoption Day.
Attorney James Nolan, an adoptive father who was master of ceremonies for the celebration, said it was the eighth annual celebration of this event in Middlesex County. A similar celebration was held at the Somerset County Courthouse later in the day, when 17 more adoptions were completed for families in Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties.
The stories of each family were different, but there were some common threads. Some parents who already had biological children of their own were moved to adopt because of their deep faith in God. Other couples who were infertile were celebrating the opportunity to complete their families through adoption. One family, the Dehners, were using adoption to formalize a blending of two families that had been going on for a few years.
“I adopted Jake when he was 10 months old,” explained George Dehner. “My wife at that time passed away before the placement, so I adopted him as a single father. Then, a few years later, I met my present wife, Judy, who was a widow, with children of her own, when we met. Today, Judy is adopting Jake so that she will become his legal mother.”
Jake was beaming.
“I have been in his life for a few years, and I’ve been ‘Mom’ for a while now,” said Judy Dehner, who also was beaming. The family confirmed that Judy Dehner is the only mom Jake has known.
Prompted by a deep faith
The Canna family of North Brunswick had a different story to tell. Parents Juana and Anthony have have a biological son, Alexander, but they wanted more children. Mrs. Canna said they were motivated to choose adoption by their Christian faith. Working with an international adoption agency, they have welcomed two young boys into their family — Luke, who came from China, and Gian, who came from the Philippines. Mrs. Canna said Luke’s adoption process has taken about three years, while Gian’s took about one. Both were formally completed Wednesday.
Another couple with a biological child who chose to adopt were the Gonzales family of Perth Amboy. Osilis Gonzales and his wife, Sylvia Soto, have a daughter together named Janellus, who is 9. After Janellus was born, the Gonzaleses had another child who died at 2 months. That loss, coupled with their deep faith in God, prompted the Gonzaleses to turn to the Division of Child Protective and Permanency office in Middlesex County to adopt.
Soto explained that before an adoption is finalized, the child must live with the parents for many months, during which time the biological family can ask for him or her back. In the Gonzaleses’ case, Child Protective and Permanency placed seven children with them, all of whom were reclaimed by their biological families.
“It was very hard,” Soto said, “but we got through it. And now we have Jacob. He was our eighth placement, and it has been pretty smooth. We’ve had him for about 17 months. I still can’t believe it.”
She said the other children they had fostered ranged from newborns to 5 years old. Jacob is 18 months. After Jacob was placed with the Gonzales family, Soto had a girl, Gianna, who is now a year old.
“I think adoption is great,” she said. “It completes us as a human being and a family. We’re beyond happy.”
To prove it, the Gonzaleses showed up at the Adoption Day celebration wearing family T-shirts that spelled out Jacob’s name, and they were surrounded by at least 10 friends and relatives wearing bright blue “Team Jacob” T-shirts. One of the supporters was the Rev. Elba Soto, Sylvia Soto’s aunt and pastor of their church, The Church of the Living Water (La Iglesia Del Agua Viva).
All the way from Virginia
Dennis and Tara Carroll thought they would never have children because they weren’t conceiving, then Tara’s father met the niece of his first wife who had a relative who was pregnant who would be giving up her child for adoption. Tara Carroll got a call from her father about it, and working with agencies in New Jersey, where the baby was born, and Virginia, where the Carrolls lived, they were able to adopt the baby, whom they named Jack.
That was about nine years ago. Since then, Jack’s birth mother has had three more pregnancies, and the Carrolls adopted all of the children. They attended the Adoption Day ceremony to formalize the adoption of their daughter, Julia, who stole the show with her smiles. Tara Carroll said they will have some formalities to complete with Virginia authorities when they return home.
“It’s not a big deal. We’ve been through it before,” Tara. Carroll said. “It’s been a beautiful experience. And we are glad Jack’s adoption was an identified adoption because, otherwise, we would not have been able to adopt the other children.”
During the ceremony, before the adoptive families were served a continental breakfast and their adoptions were formalized, Nolan introduced a number of local dignitaries who are involved in the adoption process, as well as New Brunswick police Detective Michael Coppola, who was adopted from an orphanage in Colombia. Coppola spoke about what it was like for him to grow up knowing he was adopted.
“People often ask me if I want to find my birth parents,” he said. After explaining that his parents divorced and remarried and he has at least six adopted siblings from Korea, Italy, Poland and other countries, he said, “For me, my parents are my parents, the ones who raised me. I have enough parents.”
Others who spoke included Travis L. Francis, assignment judge of state Superior Court; Lisa Von Pier, assistant commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families; and Deborah J. Venezia, the presiding judge in the Family Division of state Superior Court, who finalized the adoptions.
Each had a message of inspiration to share, but perhaps all were summarized by Von Pier, who said to the adoptive families, “It (adoption) is about what we share as family, how we grow together as family, what we feel in our hearts. You guys are a living and breathing example of a love that knows no bounds.”
Renters in Los Angeles and San Francisco are Paying $1200 a Month for a Bunk Bed in a Shared Space
Would you pay $1200 a month for a bunk bed in a shared space? Renters in Los Angeles and San Francisco are opting for pods in communal home with a desk, locker and personal TV
With the cost of rent continuing to rise, some Americans are taking unusual measures to find a place to sleep.
PodShare, which provides 10 to 15 co-ed bunkbeds in six locations across California, is hoping to help solve the affordable housing crisis.
The beds can be rented from $35 to $50 a night, which amounts to between $1,050 and $1500 for one month.
It’s no secret that housing prices have rapidly spiked over the last decade and incomes have not kept up
One 2018 study published found that only about one-third of millennials currently own homes.
This is fewer than the number of Generation Xers and baby boomers who owned homes when they were the same age.
And a study conducted by Harvard University this year found that one-in-three Americans can’t afford to pay rent.
It’s unsurprising considering that, in cities such as San Francisco, the average rent for an apartment is about $3,900.
But for $1,200, if you rent with PodShare everyone gets a bed that turns into a desk, individual power outlets, a locker, a shelf and a personal TV.
Each location also provides a communal living room, food such as cereal, toiletries such as toilet paper, laundry machines and WiFi access, reported CNN.
Tenants are known as ‘pod-estrians’.
Although the set-up may seem like an adult dormitory or a hostel, the company uses the term ‘co-living’.
‘PodShare makes life more affordable because there is no security deposit or cost of furnishings and we provide flexible living,’ co-founder Elvina Beck told Vice in 2016.
‘Pod life is the future for singles which are not looking to settle down, but focus on their startups and experience something new.’
There are no curtains to close off the beds, and the only doors are to the bathroom, reported Time Out Los Angeles.
Although there’s no privacy, pod-residents are willing to exchange that for affordability or a reduced travel time to work.
Beck, 34, told CNN that she founded the company in 2012 because she wanted to meet new people and provide housing security to others.
‘Maybe they don’t have two months’ rent to put down or they don’t have proof of income,’ she said.
‘Whether it’s from a divorce or their family kicked them out for being gay or because they’re in a different country or a different city.’
She told CNN that, when she began PodShare, most residents were between ages 24 and 30. Today, however, most ‘tenants’ are in their late 20s or early 30s.
Additionally, many of the early residents were young adults who had just moved to a new city. But many new residents are older adults and even those traveling on business.
However, there some rules that people are required to follow. Lights have to be off by 10pm, no guests are allowed and tenants can’t have sex.
‘You can’t invite any friends over,’ Beck told CNN. ‘Sorry. Just make new ones here.’
Caretaker Ties a Wheelchair-Bound Pensioner to a Tree by The Neck
Shocking footage of a wheelchair-bound pensioner being tied to a tree by the neck by a caretaker has sparked controversy in China.
The caretaker claimed to have no other way but to bind her frail client with a rope because she had to rush back home to deal with family emergency.
Furious onlookers demanded the caretaker free the pensioner immediately. The domestic worker defended her act by calling the incident ‘no big deal’.
The pensioner appeared extremely distressed throughout the video and could not speak clearly.
One angry male passer-by accused the caretaker: ‘How would you feel if your daughter treated you like this?’
He criticised the caretaker and said she should bring the pensioner with her.
The caretaker replied: ‘[If I had] pushed her back, she would tell [on me].’
Another female bystander pointed out that the pensioner neck had turned red because of the rough treatment.
After being lambasted by eyewitnesses, the caretaker untied the pensioner and pushed her away.
Authority said the clip had been uploaded onto the social media by residents in a neighbourhood called Nanyuan on the outskirts of southern Beijing.
But they had not been able to identify the exact location of the incident or track down the individuals involved.
Police have been alerted of the video and launched an investigation, according to Beijing Evening News.
Comforting Shelter Dogs During Fireworks Is The New Independence Day Tradition
“Calming the Canines,” at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC), is a new Independence Day tradition.
Last year, over 300 people from the community showed up at the shelter’s two locations around Phoenix, Arizona.
It was overwhelming to see how the community responded. It really helped spread our message that MCACC is here to help.
Amy Engel, who attended Calming the Canines last year said that she definitely plans on attending this year, too.
Engel wrote about her experience last year
Some people sang to them, some people read to them, some people just sat there and gave treats! It was so, so awesome because the dogs absolutely love the attention and were focused on the people and not the fireworks going on outside.
Many participants developed lasting relationships with the shelter, returning to provide foster care, adopt a pet or volunteer.
The shelter suggests people to bring blankets to sit on, or folding chairs, and to let the dog or cat approach them to sit calmly and quietly.
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