Tri-State family welcomes two adopted children after months-long delay

Spencer County CASA facing challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic

Tri-State family welcomes two adopted children after months-long delay

ROCKPORT, Ind. (WFIE) - The Spencer County Court Appointed Special Advocates have been celebrating quite a few victories this past week.

One of those included the adoptions of two young boys into one local family.

Spencer County CASA is always on a mission.

“Goal of the case is always reunification with the parents at the beginning, but that can’t always be achieved safely,” Katie Thompson, executive director for Spencer County CASA said. “So an alternative ending would be adoption.”

Thompson introduced our team to the Russo family, who just finalized two adoptions of their own - making their family just a little bigger.

“So we’re a very well-blended family,” Angela Russo said. “We have birth kids on both sides, and adopted kids on all sides.”

Tristan and Mathias have been a part of the Russo family for nearly four years. and just last year got the green light to get adopted. However, the coronavirus pandemic put a pause on their plans.

“So we had to wait until the courts opened back up to be able to finalize their adoption, so they probably waited four or five months longer than what they needed to,” Russo said.

The Russo family weren’t the only ones affected. Officials with Spencer County CASA say that tons of families were left in limbo during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the happy endings are now back on track.

Two weeks ago, the Russo family officially adopted Tristan and Mathias, and despite the wait, they couldn’t be happier.

“I would recommend anybody that is willing to dedicate time and energy into helping a kid to foster - whether it leads to adoption or not,” Russo said. “It’s a great experience.”

he coronavirus pandemic has halted the processes for a lot of adoptions throughout the Tri-State, but some families are finally getting their happy ever afters as the courts begin to reopen.

According to Spencer County CASA, the organization had three adoptions become finalized, one permanent guardianship and a legal name change in the last week alone.

These were huge wins, but COVID-19 is still impacting their organization.

Due to the pandemic, CASA officials say that some of the organization’s funding has been impacted.

The organization has also moved its fall fundraiser to a virtual event in order to continue helping children in need of advocacy.

CASA officials say their main goal is to give each child a representative that will be a familiar face until they are reconnected with their family or adopted.

However, many of their volunteers have not been able to see the children they work with over the last three months, so they’re getting creative.

“Did some FaceTime, or going to their house and sitting in their car, and calling them on the phone, so that they could still see them and talk to them, but not be too close to them,” Thompson said. “So we’re very impressed with our volunteers and the way they’ve handled that situation.”

Click here to learn more about CASA and find out how to volunteer or donate.

Copyright 2020 WFIE. All rights reserved.