Among the sound of cameras clicking and the sight of several little faces smiling, Marian Laird was overjoyed. She's hoping for several more years of smiles from this bunch. Laird officially became 'Mom' to the last of the crew, little Scotland, 11 months.
"It's just very peaceful to know that no one is going to come and take her," said Laird.
Scotland was the last of the five biological sisters to be formally adopted by Laird, though she went to live with Laird in January at just 12 days old. The adoption ceremony took place on Saturday, November 17 at Durango Juvenile Court Center as part of National Adoption Day. With food and entertainment, it was an all-out celebration in Phoenix, a fun time for kids who have had a rough start in life.
The pomp and circumstance may feel contradictory because the underlying issue is a national crisis. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are more than 400,000 kids in foster care across the country. Of that number, there are more than 15,000 in Arizona alone, according to the latest numbers from CASA of Arizona.
Baby Scotland's adoption ceremony was just one of several Judge Randall Warner presided over on Saturday. Though the girls no longer have a biological mother, they do have stability and according to Laird, a relationship with extended family.
"Even though they've been adopted, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other siblings that haven't been adopted by me can still be a part of their life," she said.
Dressed head to toe in similar attire for the special day, they no longer just look like family anymore, they are family.