National Adoption Day: Children find their forever families in Cook County

Saturday is National Adoption Day, a collective effort to draw awareness to how many children need forever homes. To celebrate, the Circuit Court of Cook County held a special ceremony Friday.

There we met the newly formed Ramirez family from Rosemont. The grandmother of three young siblings is now their mom, after she officially adopted the children ages 8, 7 and 5.

"I just said every day I'm doing it. I'm doing it. I'm doing it. I'm grandma, but I can do it. I could be a mom again," said Juanita Fuentes after the process was complete.

Her son and the children's uncle will help raise them.

"I don't have my own. I treat them like my own and they're the best thing that ever happened to me," said Dominic Ramirez.

They were one of three families having their adoption finalized as the Circuit Court of Cook County gave us a rare look inside the courtroom, to encourage more adoptions.

"There is no more selfless act than opening your home and heart to a foster child through adoption," said Sanjay Tailor, Acting Presiding Judge, County Division.


One well known person drawing attention to adoption is Marcus Lemonis, a businessman and TV personality who was adopted. He says we spend so much time encouraging pet adoption, but not human adoption.

"I want adoption to be the first choice or a complimentary choice. Not the alternative to your inability to have a child," said Lemonis.

In Cook County, judges, attorneys and more used zoom and other technology to keep adoptions going during the pandemic. But it’s estimated there are 120 thousand kids in the U.S. foster care waiting to be adopted.

"There's so many kids out there that would just love to be loved," said Juanita Fuente as she encouraged other foster parents to become adoptive parents.

We asked her new children, Alexis, Madelyn and Johnny Jr. how they feel now that the adoption is finalized.

Each simply said, "happy."