WASHINGTON — You could feel the love at D.C. Superior Court on Saturday as the adoptions of 30 children were finalized.
“I get a new life, I get new parents,” said Jalonnie Wade Rencher-Butler, 8, at a ceremony marking the 30th annual D.C. Adoption Day.
Jalonnie and his brother, Jonathan Braswell, 14, were adopted by Edward Rencher-Butler and his husband, Clifton DaCarlos Butler. The boys have been living with the couple since April 2015.
“This 8-year-old here is pretty excited,” Rencher-Butler said prior to the ceremony, referring to Jalonnie. “He knows it’s finalized, but this ceremony kind of seals the deal for him.”
During the ceremony, a judge signed their final adoption decree.
Jalonnie said he was happy about having his brother with him as part of his new family.
“I wouldn’t know what to do [without him],” he said.
The couple said they did not want to split up the boys again, so they adopted them both knowing they would be jumping into parenthood and dealing with the challenges that come with raising a teen.
At the courthouse, Jonathan had a big, impressive smile, the kind that goes from ear to ear.
“I’m glad I’m adopted,” he said. “I feel great about it.”
Jalonnie said his new parents pray over him every night, and they give him a kiss good-night even when he’s asleep. He said they teach him to treat others how he would like to be treated.
“I love them, and I love my brother and my whole family,” Jalonnie said.
He also said he was very happy that he doesn’t have to move from place, to place to place anymore.
The boys come from a large family — one of their older sisters also was adopted on Saturday.
Because of their military career in the Navy, Jalonnie’s new parents are moving to Virginia Beach, but they said they are keeping their house in Maryland, so they can still travel back and forth. This means the boys will get to spend time with their brothers and sisters.
The adoption process was difficult but well worth it, Rencher-Butler said.
The D.C. Child and Family Services Agency is looking for loving and permanent homes for 86 children currently in foster care. Prospective foster and adoptive parents can visit the Heart Gallery at adoptionstogether.org or call the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency information line at 202-671-5683 (LOVE) for more information.