Tears of happiness

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Applause erupted as Ottawa County Circuit Judge Kent Engle finalized the Perez family’s adoption of Ashanti.

The Perezes and six other families participated in adoption confirmation hearings in Grand Haven Tuesday as part of Adoption Day in Michigan.

Robinson Township resident Ivan Perez said it’s "special" knowing Ashanti and their other adopted children are “theirs,” and they have the ability to provide a consistent environment and care.

“For us, it’s knowing we have control of this kid’s destiny,” the father said. “We know the kids are better for the long haul.”

About 2,300 children were adopted in Michigan through the Department of Human Services or private agencies during the state's 2013 fiscal year. About 80 children had their adoptions finalized throughout the state Tuesday — a day sponsored by the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Department of Human Services and the Child Welfare Services division of the State Court Administrative Office.

Ivan and Veronica Perez have opened their home to nearly 50 foster children since the late 1990s. The couple said they saw a need in the community, and their own children were grown up and out of their home.

As of Sept. 30, more than 13,400 children were in Michigan’s foster care system.

The Perezes currently have two foster daughters in their home. The family has adopted two other children – Alivia, who is a kindergartner, and a son who is now serving in the Marine Corps.

Although some of their foster children have moved to other homes, they still keep in touch through social media, writing letters and visits.

Veronica said there’s a lot of satisfaction in providing a home for children and allowing them to create bonds like the one she shares with her sister.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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