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ITHACA, N.Y. — On Wednesday morning, dozens of people crowded the halls of the Tompkins County courthouse, carrying balloons and presents for six children who were officially adopted into families on National Adoption Day.

Some of the children have spent years waiting for a home and are among the lucky 54 to 60 children adopted in Tompkins County every year, said Lori Decker, chief clerk at the Surrogate’s Court. She said another six children will be adopted on Dec. 4.

For the Jacksons, the adoption ceremony was a move to welcome their 3-year-old daughter officially into their family.

Wahtura and George Jackson have taken care of Yas’mine Jackson since she was about five weeks old.

They said the family knew the birth mother and agreed to foster Yas’mine until the woman worked out a few issues.

“The idea was always out there that if it didn’t work out, would we be willing to adopt,” Wahtura Jackson said. “(But) our plan was for her to go back home.”

She and her husband already have three daughters — 22, 18 and 16 years old — along with a female cat.

So for the first two years or so, the Jackson’s just loved and enjoyed Yas’mine.

Yas’mine Jackson strikes a pose for her family after being adopted Wednesday.
Yas’mine Jackson strikes a pose for her family after being adopted Wednesday.

They said she loves the movie ‘Frozen’ and singing or dancing along to it.

“She’s interested in playing music,” George Jackson said proudly, adding that he is also a musician who plays the organ, piano and drums.

Wahtura Jackson said that about a year ago, the Tompkins County Department of Social Services contacted them about making Yas’mine officially part of their family — otherwise it was possible that she would be put up for adoption and go to another family.

The Jacksons said they knew they they didn’t want to let her go and agreed.

George Jackson said the process was slow — “Hurry up and wait,” is how he described it.

But a few weeks ago, he said he received a call from his lawyer and was told the adoption would be finalized Nov. 25 — on National Adoption Day.

“We were ready. We cleared our schedule,” he said.

The Jacksons said 19 family members came to the adoption ceremony to welcome Yas’mine into the family.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.