SUNBURY — Northumberland County Children and Youth celebrated National Adoption Day on Friday with balloons, toys, crafts and games at the Northumberland County Courthouse to honor the 30 children adopted throughout the past year.
Two new adoptions also took place before a large audience of Children and Youth employees and families who have shared in the same joys of adoption.
Stephanie Mabus became emotional while speaking of finally making two-year-old Shaun legally hers. Shaun became the second adopted child of Stephanie and her husband Kurt. The two have three biological children as well.
“I felt like (Shaun) was mine from day one,” she said through happy tears. “There is absolutely no difference between my biological children and my adopted children. The same exact love is there.”
Shaun was a week old when he came to the Mabus home directly from the NICU, and Stephanie said watching him grow and becoming his mother has been “very rewarding.”
The Mabus family is from Union County and has been fostering since 2006. They fostered two little girls from Northumberland County through another agency and Stephanie said she loved working with the case worker because it was a different approach than she was used to.
“I felt they were more one-on-one. I’m a question person and I could ask a bunch of different questions and they’d be there to answer them for us,” she said.
Stephanie has nothing but praise for the staff of Northumberland County Children and Youth and was happy Shaun’s adoption could be held before all of them during the Adoption Day celebration.
She said, “Everyone there is so welcoming and loving and they are there to support you and help you. They’re great to children.”
Northumberland County Judge Hugh Jones was delighted to be part of the celebration for the third year in a row. Jones has served as the county dependency judge since January 2016, and Children and Youth Administrator Katrina Gownley said he has been “incredible” working with them in increasing the number of adoptions in the county.
Jones said Adoption Day is the culmination of the effort put in by everyone in helping find forever homes for children and make families whole through adoption. He said he loves seeing the kids who were adopted throughout the year come back for the day to celebrate.