20 Central Florida children adopted even as coronavirus pandemic slows down the process

Virtual ceremonies held for National Adoption Day

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – National Adoption Day looks different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that’s not stopping nearly two dozen children from finding their forever homes on Friday.

Embrace Families is an organization that helps place children in foster care and facilitate adoptions in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties.

The nonprofit along with its partner agencies celebrated National Adoption Day by placing 20 children with their forever homes on Friday.

Kevin and Shana Giroux adopted 5-year-old Josiah. He is the fourth child they’ve adopted. His parents described the moment they knew they wanted him to join their family.

“We met him back in June and once we started to get to spend a little time with him and he told us he was looking for a forever family and it just sort of became a match,” Kevin Giroux said.

Ezra Cullors was also adopted on National Adoption Day.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the celebration looked different this year. Chaz and Shakira Cullors adopted the one-and-a-half-year-old during a virtual ceremony.

“It was different, but the emotions are the same. It was fantastic,” Shakira Cullors said.

The Cullors adopted his biological sister two years ago.

“That was one of the things that made it so easy to say yes because, with the fact that they are siblings, it’s a rare opportunity to have,” Chaz Cullors said.

Glen Casel with Embrace Families said the pandemic is also impacting adoptions. He said usually 300 kids are placed in forever homes every year, but less than 100 have been adopted in 2020.

“So much of the court system has been dramatically slowed by the pandemic and just getting through that process a little different this year,” Casel said.

Despite the pandemic, one thing remains the same. Families are still opening their hearts and finding a place in their homes for these children.

“The last thing that makes you a family is biology and I have always believed that,” Shana Giroux said.

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