POTTSVILLE, Pa. -- The agency that handles adoptions in Schuylkill County hopes to start a new annual tradition to celebrate families coming together through the adoption process.
"Let the good times roll." That's the name of the game for this celebration at Strike Zone Alleys in Pottsville.
"Today is our first ever adoption celebration. November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so we wanted to get all of our recently adopted families together and celebrate the day," said Karessa Kunstek, Schuylkill County adoption specialist.
Kunstek helps with the adoption process and says many of these parents teaching children how to bowl started as foster parents, and soon after welcoming the children into their homes, they decided to adopt them.
Maggie Maskerines of Pottsville was adopted through Schuylkill County Children and Youth Services when she was young. She says seeing these families celebrate is touching.
"It's really awesome. I know for me it was hard because I was kind of flipped back and forth, and it's nice to see these kids with their forever families," Maskerines said.
Parents at the celebration tell Newswatch 16 events like this and the holidays remind them about why they chose to adopt in the first place.
"We wanted to give them a home and start traditions and show them a life they may not have had," said Stacy Walker of Tamaqua.
Walker and her husband have five adopted sons. She says events like these provide the support she can't find elsewhere in Schuylkill County.
"Just getting together with other parents who have walked the walk every day, and it's just a great feeling, and I really hope to see this continue."
The Walker boys say they'd be happy to add this event to their annual holiday traditions.
"It's a good time for us to hang out, other than just sit at home and do nothing. I think that it's a good way for us to bond with each other," Jason Walker said.
If you have questions about becoming a foster parent or adoption, you can find more information here.