Camden County Families Celebrate National Adoption Day

By Briana Vannozzi

Three year-old Sophia may not understand why, but today is her day.

“After two and-a-half years of fostering a little girl we get to adopt her today,” said Jennifer Genther.

The Genther’s are one of more than 40 Camden County families, opening their hearts and homes during National Adoption Day.

“We have 48 adoptions we’ll be doing and the children range from 7 months to age 17. And in 2014 Camden County actually had the highest amount of adoptions for the year in the state of New Jersey,” said Michelle Gentek-Mayer, Camden County Surrogate-Elect.

Sophia first came to Jen and Dru at just 8 months. With three grown sons, they knew they wanted to foster. They instantly fell in love.v“It was supposed to be just a foster care it wasn’t supposed to be permanent. Thank God it turned out that way. But when they first brought her to us, Mom was trying to do her best to get things together. She was reunified for 3 months with her mom and then she wound up coming back to us and has been with us ever since.”

“We do have in the state of New Jersey over 2 thousand children in foster care and that’s the way a lot of parents see if a child can adapt to their family,” Gentek-Mayer continued.

One more unique spin, most of Sophia’s biological family is an active part of her life.

Karen Batchelor, Sophia’s biological grandmother said, “most adoptions you know one family is cut off usually, in this situation we have bonded because I want to be in Sophia’s life and it just turns out that her parents, her new parents are the most wonderful people.”

Jennifer agreed, “So we wound up meeting and it was an instant connection we talk all the time we text all the time, not only do we get her, but we get a wonderful extended family.”

Dad Dru says in a house full of boys, she brings the sweetness only a little girl can. “They play with her and my son Brandon will be by her kitchen and they’re having a little picnic, she was putting lipstick on my older son’s lips one day just sitting there letting her do it like you know doesn’t phase him at all.”

“It’s brought me and my brothers together and strengthened all of our relationships as well,” said her brother Brandon.

For a lot of the mom’s and dad’s here these children have already been a part of their families, today is just the last step in finalizing it.

“I don’t even think I can wrap my brain around it yet it its very surreal in the fact that she’s always been ours now its legal,” said Jennifer.

Gentek-Mayer encouraged everyone, “just to know that these children are getting a home is incredible and we ask people to just take a look at today and reach out and let no child be left alone.”

Hoping families will consider adoption not just on this day, but throughout the year.