The Ottumwa Courier


November 23, 2009

Adoption comes from the heart

Five adoptions involving eight children were formalized at the Courthouse Saturday

OTTUMWA — For Matt and Susan Chickering, the two years of waiting were well worth it.

The Chickering’s, of Ottumwa, finalized the adoption of 17-month old Cooper on Saturday morning at the Wapello County Courthouse. The whole process took them about two years.

“It’s been hurry up and do paper work and then wait,” Susan Chickering said. “We always knew we wanted kids, and every child deserves a home.”

Cooper’s older brother, Logan, was adopted in 2002. Both boys were born in South Korea.

The process to adopt is long and stressful, Susan said.

“We [started] working on their adoptions before they were born,” she said.

Susan, Matt, Logan and Cooper Chickering were among the families gathered at the Wapello County Courthouse Saturday for National Adoption Day.

Five adoptions involving eight children were formalized at the Courthouse Saturday. Wapello County participated in National Adoption Day for the first time.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Tom Lazio, CEO of the American Home Finding Association in Ottumwa.

In his long career, Lazio has seen a lot of adoptions, and the key to parenting is “love, respect and patience.”

When a child is adopted, it benefits the family, but it also gives the child a sense of belonging and connection, Lazio said.

Theron and Jaime Arvallo, of Oskaloosa, finalized their first adoption Saturday. Charlie, 3, was taken in by the Avarallos as a temporary placement. His birth parents, who the Arvallos know through their church, couldn’t take care of him.

“We thought we were going to help someone out, and through time he became a part of the family,” Theron said.

So they decided to become foster parents and later decided to adopt him.

“[Being a foster parent is] the hardest job you’ll ever love,” Jaime said.

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