Forever families

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

Kayla Nevaeh Beaman sat restlessly on Sharon Strachan’s lap. The 7-year-old wore pink from head to toe, her hair tied with ribbon curls.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune Kayla Strachan, 7, jumps and releases her last balloon Tuesday outside the Roosevelt County Courthouse, celebrating her adoption at the National Adoption Day ceremony.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune
Kayla Strachan, 7, jumps and releases her last balloon Tuesday outside the Roosevelt County Courthouse, celebrating her adoption at the National Adoption Day ceremony.

Kayla had anxiously waited for Tuesday too long, her parents said, so when her name was finally called by 9th Judicial District Judge Donna Mowrer in her Portales courtroom, she took off running to Mowrer’s side.

Mowrer asked Kayla the question she was dying to hear, “Are you ready for a forever family?”

Kayla nodded, then eagerly assisted Mowrer in banging her gavel, and that was it, Kayla was now a Strachan.

“You’re officially mine,” whispered Sharon Strachan to Kayla as the two embraced.

The emotional ceremony was one of nine official adoptions that took place Tuesday in recognition of National Adoption Day.

New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families partnered with the 9th Judicial District to celebrate and finalize adoptions.

According to the National Adoption Day website, the organization is a collective and national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent families. This was Roosevelt County’s first year participating in the national celebration.

According to Carol Gonzales, CYFD’s county office manager, there are currently 73 children in foster care in the area.

Ayden Banister, 3, finalizes his adoption Tuesday by helping 9th Judicial District Judge Donna Mowrer bang her gavel.

Ayden Banister, 3, finalizes his adoption Tuesday by helping 9th Judicial District Judge Donna Mowrer bang her gavel.

Gonzales said about 80 percent of their children get adopted by a foster family.

Sharon and Bill Strachan of Clovis have been foster parents for more than 20 years, but Kayla, who has been in their care for nearly two years, was their first adoption.

“I get attached to all my kids but most of them went home,” said Bill Strachan, a retired U.S. Marine and educator.

Bill Strachan described Kayla as a sweetheart and a gift from God who’s always willing to help around the home with chores and the other children in their care.

“I’ll take care of her for the rest of our lives,” he said.

Kayla said she was so excited, she didn’t get much sleep but she did manage to dream the night before.

“I dreamed to hit that gavel and my wish came true,” Kayla said.

Jose Ramos, right, celebrates with his new family Tuesday at the Roosevelt County Courthouse for National Adoption Day. Ramos was one of the nine adoptions finalized.

Jose Ramos, right, celebrates with his new family Tuesday at the Roosevelt County Courthouse for National Adoption Day. Ramos was one of the nine adoptions finalized.

Portales homemaker Rachel Ramos also made one of her wishes come true when she adopted four children, ages 1 to 5, with her husband Manuel, a truck driver.

The 37-year-old is a relative of the children and decided it was best for them to be with family.

“In the past, I lost a nephew in the (foster care) system, I didn’t want to lose four more,” Ramos said.

Ramos said her children bring joy, noise, and a lot of love to her home.

“Without them, my pockets would be full, my house would be silent, but my heart would be empty,” she said. “I would rather have no money and have them.”

Jose Ramos, 5, the oldest of the siblings, said he looks forward to going to the park and playing with his new mother.

“I’m going to listen to her,” he said.