On November 17, 2023, a heartfelt celebration unfolded at the Pima County Juvenile Court Center. It wasn’t just any day—it marked a life-changing moment for Oliver and Savannah, though they might not retain the memories of the balloons, Disney characters, or tears that filled the air. What they’ll come to understand is that this day was among the most pivotal in shaping their lives.
They were part of a group of 75 children formally welcomed into their “forever families” on National Adoption Day. Each courtroom, adorned with unique themes, hosted this joyous occasion, signifying the beginning of new chapters for these children.
Oliver found his place in Latasha Allen’s family, where he joined her three biological children, the 4-year-old she adopted the previous year, and the three more she aspires to adopt soon. Meanwhile, Savannah became part of Eva and Joshua’s family, who opted not to disclose their last name for privacy reasons.
While their family structures differed significantly, the common thread lay in the circumstances of their births—they entered the world through mothers battling addiction, unable to overcome it, and fathers facing their own challenges. Consequently, the state intervened, severing parental rights.
Eva and Joshua had contemplated fostering children even before their marriage. Settling in Sahuarita, they embraced this calling, providing a nurturing space for numerous foster children, including Savannah, who entered their lives at two months old a year earlier.
“Savannah’s been our heart,” Eva expressed, witnessing her growth and experiences. Despite a difficult start due to her biological parents’ struggles, therapy aided her progress, allowing her to hit developmental milestones.
The couple plans to continue fostering and potentially expanding their family through adoption, aiming to offer support to more children in need.
Latasha Allen, too, felt the pull toward fostering or adopting a child, a notion she’d discussed with her older children following the end of a challenging marriage. The catalyst came in the form of an essay penned by her daughter, shedding light on the foster care system’s realities. This prompted Latasha to swiftly initiate the process.
Taking in Owen and subsequently welcoming Oliver into her home, Latasha faced uncertainties about their futures. Despite initial challenges linked to their biological parents’ substance use during pregnancy, both boys thrived under her care, overcoming developmental hurdles through therapy and unconditional support.
Owen’s adoption marked the beginning of a transformative period for Latasha. Simultaneously, she extended respite care to a girl of similar age. However, the girl’s situation was complex, with older brothers living in separate group homes. Determined not to separate them, Latasha sought permission to build connections with these boys, eventually bringing them into her family fold.
Juggling the needs of five children, each with unique requirements, proved demanding yet immensely fulfilling for Latasha. She left her job to focus entirely on her children, describing the experience as a continual act of prioritizing and addressing challenges as they arise, all while nurturing trusting relationships with each child.
The support of her older children, whom she refers to as the “OG Three,” proved invaluable. They willingly contribute, recognizing the importance of family and the impactful role their mother plays in the lives of their younger siblings.
For Levi, the eldest, the experience affirmed the immense responsibility of parenting and deepened his appreciation for his mother’s dedication. He acknowledged the hardships they faced growing up, crediting his mother’s resilience and her continuous efforts to educate herself on childcare and trauma support.
Watching these children grow and evolve under their mother’s care has left an indelible mark on Levi. He now harbors aspirations of having his own family, inspired by the love and connection he witnesses within his home.
In the event of unforeseen circumstances, Levi stands ready to assume guardianship of his younger siblings, a testament to the unwavering commitment and love binding this extraordinary family together.