Lawrence County Circuit Court Was a ” Happy Place” Friday

( BEDFORD) – The courtroom is not a place that usually is full of smiles. But Today, Friday, was different. It was filled with happiness and celebration for three families adopting children.

“Normally, the proceedings for adoptions are not open to the public.” Stated Lawrence County Circuit Court Judge Nathan Nikirk. But, under a special court order, the courts were opened up to bring awareness that children are needing to be adopted.

Carl and Griffin Brown share a hug today!

There has been a drastic rise in Children In Need of Services Cases which has been keeping the courtroom very busy. The Lawrence County Circuit Court normally sees approximately 60-70 Adoption hearings a year.

Today, Grace M’Lyn Brown, Griffin Ty William Brown, and Carl Robert Brown was adopted by Gregory and Margaret Brown. Aubree Skye Davis was adopted by Candance Davis and James Arnold. And then Carli Kay Nicole Kinser was adopted by Jimmy and Rhonda Kinser.

Judge Nathan Nikirk looks over Aubree Skye Davis with father James Edwin Arnold, and Mother Candace Davis.

“ Most of the work is done by attorney’s. I just get to share a part of this happy occasion.” Stated Judge Nikirk.

Left to right: Rhonda and Jimmy Kinser adopted Carli Kay Nicole Kinser with Judge Nikirk and Attorney Tammy Minger of Bloomington.

There is a lot of work that goes into the adoption process, attorneys, case managers, and CASA volunteers are some of the many people that are involved in the adoption process. Many children are needing to be adopted at this time.

Left to right back row, Margaret and Greg Brown, Judge Nathan Nikirk, Attorney Tammy Minger, front row left to right Griffin, Carl, and Gracie Brown

“ It is a joy, this is what it is all about, for those who cannot get back into their home, this is the next best thing. It is a happy ending for the child,” said Mellissa Kelley, a CASA Volunteer.

Aubree bangs the gavel today in the courtroom.

Aubree Davis parent’s Candance and James Arnold stated the process took over four years to complete. “This is the best day of my life,” Aubree commented on today’s events.

“They raised Aubree since birth and are now excited that they are legally are her parents. She has also considered us her parents from the beginning.” Candance Davis commented.

Cari Kay Nicole Kinser was smiling today for the adoption proceedings.

Who Can Adopt A Child?

To be an adoptive parent, you don’t have to be extraordinary.  Adoptive parents can be “everyday” people.  They…..

  • like kids
  • are accepting of a child with a past family history
  • are willing to commit to a child for a lifetime
  • will advocate for their child’s needs
  • can show affection in healthy ways to a child that has been abused and/or neglected
  • can find non-physical ways of discipline.
  • are comfortable with setting good boundaries, limits, and rules for children when necessary
  • feel good about being a parent
  • are flexible to new situations and adventures
  • find pleasure in small gains and successes in a child’s life. 

What are the requirements to become an adoptive parent?
There are some “cut in stone” requirements. Adoptive parents are asked to provide an adequate and loving home for an adopted child. An adoptive parent …

  • can be single, married, or divorced
  • might have biological or previously adopted children
  • is financially ready to add children to their family. (There is no specific income requirement and some children may be eligible for financial assistance and medical insurance.)
  • has enough room for an additional person in their home. (A “home-visit” is required)
  • must be able to pass an FBI fingerprint check and fulfill all training requirements.

Who are children with special needs?
A “special needs child” is:

  • A child who is two (2) years of age or older; or
  • A child who is a member of a sibling group of two or more children of which at least one is two (2) years of age or older and who will be placed with the sibling group in the same home; or,
  • A child with a medical condition or a physical, mental, or emotional disability as determined by a physician or psychiatrist licensed to practice in Indiana or another state.

Children eligible for adoption come in all ages and races; males and females. Many of them are over the age of 6 years old. The majority of children that are available are between the ages of 11 to 16 and male.  Another large group of children waiting for adoptive families are sibling groups, which may be as little 2 children or many more.  Many of the available children do have medical or emotional special needs.

How long does it take to adopt a child?

Adoption can take time and is dependent on many variables. Most adoptive parents can meet all state requirements in 6 to 12 months. Once a child is identified their move with an adoptive family is based on the child’s need to make a stable and lasting transition. The final decision always rests with the court.

How can a person get more information on adoption and available children?

Please call 1-888-25-ADOPT (1-888-252-3678)

To be a CASA Volunteer this is how you can be a part of a child’s life. The Lawrence County CASA program serves children who are involved in Lawrence County who are involved in the court system due to child abuse or neglect.

CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates. The CASA’s are volunteers who are appointed by the court to represent the best interest of a child.

Volunteers are men and women from all walks of life who have a variety of professional, educational, and ethnic backgrounds. Volunteers must be 21 years of age, submit an application and references, complete an interview, and attend at least 30 hours of training at the local CASA program. A criminal background check and child abuse registry check is also required. A college education is not required. A volunteer can have a full- time job and still volunteer. The volunteer must also sign a Code of Ethics regarding maintaining confidentiality and professionalism.

For more information on becoming a GAL or CASA volunteer, visit www.casa.in.gov

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