November is National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, a time to celebrate families that have been created through adoption and raise awareness of the 122,000 children in foster care who are still waiting.

This year’s theme is “Every Conversation Matters,” focusing on the thousands of teenagers and young adults who need unconditional commitment, love, and support, and the importance of talking with them about their permanency plans.

To highlight the importance of adoption and its impact, we want to share the story of one special family, their road to adoption, and how their lives were forever changed.

The DeGarmo Family

Jennifer and Dan DeGarmo knew they wanted to grow their family. They had two boys from Jennifer’s first marriage, 10-year-old Evan and 16-year-old Damian, whom Jennifer and her first husband adopted from Guatemala.

The DeGarmo’s completed their home study and started discussing the next steps. At first, they were going to seek approval for one child, but something told them to get approval for two. They requested to be matched with a young girl, around 10-12 years old, like their youngest son. However, during the match process, the adoptions specialist mentioned sisters Sabrina and Savannah as a possible match for their family. The girls were in a group home not far from where they lived, so they started visiting and getting to know each other. They immediately felt connected and knew these sisters were meant for their family. They started making plans to spend the holidays together with an anticipated move-in date of March 2021. However, in November 2020 visits were stopped due to the COVID-19 crisis. "Everyone is afraid to adopt teenagers, but teens need parenting as much as younger children. It's a different type of parenting, they need guidance to help them navigate and learn from their life experiences, it's what makes them who they are." Jennifer DeGarmo.

The DeGarmo’s couldn’t imagine not being able to spend Christmas together as a family. The Life Management Center adoptions team worked diligently in cooperation with the out-of-county adoption specialist to expedite the process. The Monday before Christmas, Sabrina and Savannah moved to their new home with the DeGarmo’s and they spent their first Christmas together as a family of six. The following March, their adoption was finalized and their family was complete.

Sabrina and Savannah are thriving in their new home. They are enjoying being typical teenagers. Sabrina is looking forward to finishing her senior year of high school and finding a part-time job. Savannah is a sophomore, is learning to drive, and recently made her school’s cheerleading team.

The 6-member DeGarmo family taking a stroll