Michigan Adoption Day in Otsego
By Kayla Deneau
An Otsego family officially gained a new member on the 11th Michigan Adoption Day, Tuesday, Nov. 26.
Kevin and Kathy Sparks, who have been a foster family for three years, finalized the adoption of their daughter Faith Olivia Sparks.
“We love children but we had decided not to adopt; that’s why we decided to get involved with foster care,” Kathy Sparks said. “Then this little thing came into our lives, and she is not leaving.”
Faith was placed with the Sparks when she came out of the hospital as a newborn and within weeks they knew they wanted her to become a permanent member of the family.
Kevin Sparks said, “I am just so happy to have another child. I love her to death.”
Friends and family of the Sparks spoke at the adoption hearing, offering them congratulations and welcoming Faith into their family.
The Sparks’ 26-year-old daughter Jackie Sparks, whom Kevin adopted when she was 13 years old, voiced her excitement about the new addition to their family.
“I could not be happier to finally have a sister after 26 years of wanting a sibling,” Jackie said. “I cannot wait to share everything with her.”
Pastor Joe Shaler of Otsego United Methodist Church, which the family attends, expressed his joy when he first met Faith and his delight for the Sparks. He said each week Faith sits quietly through his sermons, with Kathy adding that when the choir sings Faith happily joins in.
“It is a joy to see how God has placed Faith in the care of such a wonderful, loving and caring couple,” Shaler said.
While the Sparks do not plan to adopt any more children, Kathy said they will continue fostering and anyone who is interested in adopting or fostering, children should absolutely do it.
“There are a lot of children out there that need loving families and loving homes,” she said.
Two other families joined the Sparks in finalizing their adoptions in a public hearing.
Generally adoption hearings are closed; however, on Michigan Adoption Day they are held in public to educate people on the adoption process and the need for adoption in Michigan.
Judge Michael Buck presided over the hearing.
“This is the one day when anyone can come in to observe adoptions. We’re pleased to host this event. In most cases, people are not happy about why they have to come to court. Adoptions are the exception—a positive, fun occasion for families, the court, Department of Human Services staff, local agency personnel and especially the children,” he said.
Allegan County Department of Human Services director Tim Click spoke at the hearing, wishing the families luck as well as the love and patience needed for the journey they are beginning.
Click said he hopes those viewing the adoptions will spread the word of the great miracle witnessed in the hearing, the miracle of creating a family.
“It is our desire that more people will step forward and bring a child into their home, knowing the gift that lies before them,” he said.
In Michigan, there are currently more than 13,000 children in foster care and more than 2,700 children available for adoption without an identified family who will adopt them.
For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/dhs.
Contact Kayla Deneau at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-9571.