TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Two local families began their adoption processes over a year ago.
3-year-old Irissya Wilson and 2-year-old Xylon Owens have been with their families since they were infants.
Their parents said they couldn’t be happier to finally have them forever.
“She’s been a part of our family since the day that we met her. We knew immediately that we couldn’t live our lives without her,” said Irissya’s mother, Latoiya Alsum.
“It started off as me just trying to give a loving home and a safe space to a child in our community and as it went on, he was open for adoption. I was not letting him go with anyone else,” said Olandriea Owens, Xylon’s mother.
The two families were able to finalize their adoptions as Vigo County community leaders celebrated the county’s 3rd annual Adoption Day.
Attendees included Indiana’s Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana State Senator Jon Ford and Susan Turner, Executive Director for the Terre Haute Children’s Museum.
Turner and her husband, Isaac, waited more than a year to be matched with their adopted son, Max.
“I tell people we waited over 14 months for a placement and we became parents in less than 30 minutes,” Turner said.
She said she knows first hand how these families feel.
“It’s actually kind of surreal to be standing here three years later from our own adoption day to be celebrating with these families,” Turner said. “I remember so clearly that flood of emotions and just being so happy and grateful.”
Four Vigo County adoptions were finalized during the local event that coincided with National Adoption Day.
“Every year, the Saturday before Thanksgiving is officially National Adoption Day, ” Vigo County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Mullican, who presided over the adoptions, explained. “This day raises awareness of roughly 100,000 children who are in foster care and who are waiting to find a permanent home.”
Both Alsum and Owens said the wait was worth it.
“It did go on a little longer than we needed it to. But that’s just the process. You never know what could happen or come up,” Alsum noted.
Owens said, “It’s just permanent. There’s no scariness of you know someone getting themselves together and maybe never being able to see them again. You know that you get to love them forever.”
Last year, 63 children were adopted in Vigo County, and so far in 2020, more than 40 children have found forever families locally.