ROCKPORT, Ind. (WEHT) Dozens of counties across Indiana are celebrating National Adoption Day.
A Spencer County family told their story to encourage other families to adopt.
It can change futures for both children and adoptive parents
“We’re thrilled with our family and it feels like we’ve always been a family,” said Todd Wilkerson, the head football coach at Heritage Hills High School. He and his wife, Candy, adopted Salina and her brother, Tyler, about 15 years ago.
“We got to stay together, and I think having each other and then having our parents, it’s been great,” says Salina, who is now a supervisor of volunteers for Spencer County CASA.
“We were sitting there as two married couple with no children knowing that we had a lot of love to give to some child, and we were fortunate enough to find two,” Todd adds. They say the adoption took training and time to understand the situation they came from.
“It involved understanding the situation that children are in in those cases, all of the safety aspects of raising children,” Todd says.
Over time, they grew into one family. Salina says it’s something she, her brother, and others awaiting adoption desperately need.
“A child needs a chance and they need someone who is going to love and take care of them,” she says.
The Indiana Department Of Child Services says there were more than 1,800 adoptions statewide in 2017. Jennifer Hamilton of The Villages of Indiana says adoption gives children security, but still must process past trauma.
“There are always are families that need to open their hearts, open their homes and become educated on what they’re facing,” she says.
“I look back and without them, I don’t know if I would’ve made it as far, if I would have got the chance to go to college and do all this stuff,” Salina says.
(This story was originally published on November 15, 2019)