HELENA — State and local leaders and community members gathered in Helena Tuesday, to highlight adoption in Montana.
The Montana State Capitol hosted the 23rd annual state adoption celebration. The event is sponsored by Catholic Social Services of Montana, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services’ Child and Family Services Division and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.
During the ceremony, two Montana families officially finalized their adoptions. Toby and Lynnsey Tade of Scobey adopted Micah, while Russ and Carolyn Gates of Helena adopted Alexander. District Court Judge Mike Menahan presided over the final legal steps.
The Gates family said they’re looking forward to life with their first child.
“Just watching this guy grow up,” said Russ Gates.
“And all the little surprises that life has in store,” Carolyn Gates added. “We just love him to pieces.”
This year, the event celebrated about 450 completed adoptions in Montana. That’s up from about 350 the year before. DPHHS leaders say, over the last year, they have put an emphasis on making the adoption process smoother.
Gov. Steve Bullock praised the parents who welcome children into their families.
“There’s no greater gift than the one you’re providing, and that’s a forever home,” he said.
Bullock also thanked the advocates, legal professionals and others who make each adoption possible.
Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins read a proclamation recognizing November as National Adoption Awareness Month. The St. Andrew’s School choir also performed several songs during the event.
Family members say they’re grateful to have been part of this celebration, and they encouraged others to consider adoption themselves.
“If you’re on the fence at all, it’s definitely a worthwhile endeavor,” Russ Gates said. “It’s been great for us. He’s been a great little kid, and there’s lots of opportunity out there for adoption.”