BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — November is National Adoption Awareness Month and Kern County celebrated with a special event. On Friday, community members gathered at the courthouse to witness as several families finalized their adoptions and to share food and participate in family activities together.
The Mancera family is one of the many families that went through the adoption process culminating at the National Adoption Day event. Gabriel and Christy Mancera were there to finalize the adoption of their daughter Isabella.
“You can not be a selfish person,” said the Manceras. “You have to think about these kids who don’t have, whether it be a teenager or a baby, any aged child, maybe a teen mom, you don’t know. You honestly have to be… you have to have a heart.”
The Manceras are no strangers to the adoption process. Isabella is the seventh child the family has adopted, and they say the experience is different with every child.
“Never the same. I mean, it’s exciting, it’s emotional,” said the Manceras. “We cry every time. Tears of joy, of course.”
Along with the families, several of the judges involved in Kern County adoptions were at the event. For one of those judges, Judge Wendy Avila, her involvement in facilitating adoptions brings her life full circle.
“My parents were bestowed upon me the day that I arrived in their home,” said Judge Avila about her own adoption as a baby. “I don’t think that even they in their wildest dreams would have dreamt that that baby girl over fifty years ago that they brought home with them would go on to preside over adoptions herself.”
Avila added that her parents knew what the parents at Friday’s adoption event know: That all it takes to build a family is love.
Judge John Brownlee says he could not be where he is in his life if it had not been for his adoptive parents.
“I am convinced that the Brownlees instilled in me their work ethic and their views on life that put me in this position today,” said Brownlee. “I don’t think there is any doubt about that.”
If you would like more information about how adoptions are done in Kern County, or if you or someone you know is interested in starting the process to adopt a child, please visit the Kern County Adoption Agency webpage.