Michigan Supreme Court Hosts Virtual Adoption Day Ceremony
Mark and Debbie Berlin were awarded the Maura D. Corrigan Foster Family Lifetime Achievement Award.
LANSING, MICH. - Michigan has around 11,000 children in foster care according to the Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Out of those 11,000, almost 2,000 children were adopted during 2021.
In order to educate and bring awareness to the adoption process and adoption itself, Whitmer declared Nov. 23 as Adoption Day in Michigan.
At 10:00 am, the Michigan Supreme Court held a virtual Michigan Adoption Day ceremony to honor families who adopt and give out awards.
This year, foster parents Mark and Debbie Berlin were awarded with the Maura D. Corrigan Foster Family Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Berlins are Jackson County residents and according to Jean Lee, a children's foster home licensing specialist, the Berlins have been fostering since 1999.
They always chose foster children that had health or developmental needs to give them a home that others might not, said Lee. This year, they have decided to retire.
"Mark and Debbie Berlin remind me every day what true love and compassion can mean to a child," Lee said. "I feel honored to be their licensing worker, and their friend."
Judge Tim Connors was awarded with the Daniel J. Wright Lifetime Achievement Award.
Connors has been a state court judge since 1991 and works on cases in the Civil and Domestic Divisions of the Washtenaw County Trial Court and volunteers to help the Neglect and Abuse docket for the Juvenile Court, along with other projects like helping Native American communities and more.
"He provides the leadership needed to make change happen," said Chief Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Court. "One way he does this is, by serving on several key boards, actively working to make Michigan the gold standard for child welfare across the nation."
After awards, the ceremony closed with the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange's "Heart Gallery" video. The video shows pictures of children in the foster care system that are waiting to find their forever families.