By Matt Litty, Compass Media Contributing Writer
On December 15, 2014 four children were adopted by two parents who were ready and willing to add to their family. Adoptive parents Ben and Stefany Lovell made the conscious choice to help four children and guide them in this world with a loving family. The Lovell family already had one daughter, Mary.
The Mission of Pathway Caring for Children is to empower children and families to realize their potential and achieve the possibilities of their lives through innovative mental health, foster care and adoption services. Ben and Stefany came to Pathway Caring for Children for pre-service training to become licensed foster parents. They, together with their daughter Mary, were ready, willing and able to accept children in need of a loving home into their care. On February 7, 2014, George, Ray, Robert and Teri, all biological siblings, were placed in the Lovell home though Pathway. After a few months in their foster home, the children were eligible for adoption and the Lovells quickly agreed to make them permanent members of their family.
The adoption ceremony took place in Canton, Ohio in the courtroom of Probate Judge Dixie Park. The room was filled with immediate family, as well as case managers from Pathway Caring for Children and Stark County Children Services. Smiles were abundant as Judge Park asked each of the children and the parents why they thought this would be the best solution for each of them. The children, who had been through so much in their short lives, were filled with nerves. The Judge asked the older two boys for their consent to be adopted; both agreed and said “Yes” they wanted to be a part of the Lovell family. Stefany, whose face was filled with tears of happiness as the ceremony continued, was speechless throughout most of the time in the courtroom. Ben said, “I couldn’t imagine a day without these kids in our house.” This comment was icing on the cake that made this day so special.
Ben, Stefany, and the children all sat in front of the Judge and waited for the decision. With much anticipation, the moment finally arrived where Judge Park gave the final statement of approval. George, Ray, Robert and Teri are now a permanent part of the Lovell family. The Judge allowed each of the children to come up to her seat and hit the gavel signaling permanent custody to Ben and Stefany. After the ceremony Stefany grabbed each of her children individually, wrapped her arms around them and gave each of them a kiss on top of their head. Tears running down their faces and smiles from ear to ear were the obvious outward signs of this family’s joy.
George, who is fourteen years old and a freshman in high school, enjoys math and science. Twelve-year-old Ray, a sixth grader, enjoys math, art, and gym class. Both math and gym are the favorites of the two youngest children, Teri 11 and Robert 9. All born in Florida, these children made their way into the arms of a loving Ohio family.
Ben and the boys love to spend time with one another. Some of their favorite things to do together are to play video games, work on cars and do home repairs. Stefany and Teri enjoy doing each other’s hair and encourage the boys in the home to create family times. Ben and Stefany accepted the joy and the challenge of bringing these four children into their home and believe that their family can give them the guidance and structure they need to be successful.
It was a heartwarming moment to see children who have experienced past hurts finally be placed in a loving family with two nurturing parents. Pathway Caring for Children and the foster care system helped them to find their forever family. The journey of this new family is just beginning. Pathway Caring for Children staff and post-adoption support groups are here to help the family on their new journey together. Ben and Stefany are ready to help each one of their children live a life full of love.
Pathway Caring for Children is always seeking loving foster and foster-to-adopt parents. Pre-licensing trainings occur throughout the year. For more information on how you can open your heart and open your home to a child in need, or if you or someone you know needs post-adoption counseling and support, contact us at 800-939-7284 (PATH).
For more information on these or other Pathway services see www.pathwaycfc.org. To learn more about the mission of Pathway Caring for Children, please join us for a Quick Stop tour the third Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. Contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org for a reservation.
Adopting Children in Ohio