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Through Eternity into Forever

The third week in November holds magic for our family when we celebrate National Adoption Day. My teen-age son and I opt out of our routine and slip over to the courthouse where families gather. Today we witnessed nine children joining seven families. The judge sets aside all courtroom formality and invites the kids forward; they wriggle and shriek and giggle and cling to their new mommies and daddies and siblings. The judge told the single mom adopting a toddler-sibling group of three: "You have saved their lives, literally." We stand up and clap wildly at the end of the legal proceedings. Kids spill juice and indulge in treats, balloons, face painting and free books during the reception.

Mostly, I slip into my own memories of meeting our infant son in Latin America and spending a morning in that courtroom where my husband and I answered endless questions, swore under oath to love our child - even if our married love for each other ceased (it hasn't). Psychologists asked us (very silly) questions and then we waited for five weeks for the legal dossier to be complete. We traveled through the night sky over Brazil to Miami, through Minnesota and landed in Seattle at midnight. Seventeen years later we still marvel at the amazing child who calls us mom and dad.

Families form in many ways, for many reasons. And families look different than our  traditional model of one mom, one dad. Today, the newly-formed families share the same trait we have in our family: we will love our children through eternity into forever.

Welcome home, sweet children. While others may talk about what good fortune you have found, all adoptive parents know the truth: you are the good fortune of your parents.

Tonight, 9800 children in Washington live in foster care with about 25% of these children waiting for a forever family, children eligible for adoption. Hopefully, soon, they will become the good fortune of waiting families.

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.