The Bonneville County Courthouse celebrated National Adoption Day by combining an adoption finalization with a party. The event, led by Judge Steven Gardner, included speeches about adoption from members of the community. Cake, balloons, punch, and teddy bears were available for all the kids.

Judge Gardner spoke about how long and difficult the adoption process can be. “It’s the ultimate act of love, I think, on behalf of the biological parents,” Gardner said. “And it’s the ultimate act of love by the parents who adopt. To provide a loving home is just a marvelous thing when so many children don’t have that. If the circumstances are right and the people are available, it’s a great blessing to everybody involved.”

Bruce and Aisa Ricks’s story began when they created a profile on Parent Profiles. A birth mom saw that profile advertised on Facebook and contacted them. The entire adoption process took about two and a half years. Private adoptions can be quite expensive. The couple used their own money as well as donations from their church to cover the costs. They also had travel and out-of-town expenses. Bryson was born nine weeks early, so they spend most of their time out of state with him in the NICU.

“We’re so happy. We’ve waited a long time,” Asia said. “Lots of tears . . . happy. And lots of love to share,” Bruce said.

National Adoption Day is celebrated all across the United States as communities come together to finalize thousands of adoption from foster care. It is held annually the week before Thanksgiving. It began in 2000 from the efforts of a coalition made up of children and adoption advocates. To date, over 40,000 children have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day.