SUNBURY — The Moyer Family grew significantly larger in 2019.
Tammy and Heidi Moyer, of Middleburg, finalized the adoption of five children this year. They celebrated with dozens of other families at the 10th annual Adoption Day in Northumberland County Courthouse on Friday where a record 56 children were united with their forever homes.
Adoption Day coincides with National Adoption Awareness Month. It is designed to raise awareness for both adoptions and the growing need for foster families.
"We've had a lot of people ask why, but these kids didn't chose their circumstances," said Tammy Moyer. "When they come to us like this, how could we not (take them in)?"
The couple adopted Jordan, 9, Christopher, 8, Gabriel, 7, Malia, 3, and Kinsey, 2. Jordan and Kinsey are biological siblings as are Gabriel and Malia. They also have a 19-year-old biological daughter Sierra Walter.
Over a period of nearly 18 months in 2017 and 2018, the Moyers started fostering the five children. They finalized all five adoptions within two months earlier this year.
"It's the new normal," said Heidi Moyer. "How do we do it? With six kids, our crazy life is our everyday life."
And, added Tammy Moyer, "Our doors not closed yet."
The annual event celebrates all the adoptions that have taken place throughout the year as well as the adoptions that will take place on Adoption Day. Beginning at 9 a.m., the children will kick off the festivities by taking part in several fun activities at the Northumberland County Courthouse.
Scott and Patti Gregory, of Montgomery, finalized the adoption of C.K., 9. It's their second child they've adopted. The family wore shirts with the slogan "Our family is defined by love not blood."
"We've always wanted to do it," said Patti Gregory. "We have a heart for kids."
Children & Youth Services Katrina Gownley said 2019 marked a record 56 adoptions in Northumberland County. They also brought the foster/kinship down from 250 in 2018 to 167 this year.
Last year, Northumberland County had 30 adoptions. In 2017, it was seven. In 2016 and 2015, 20 children each year were adopted. In 2014, 30 children were adopted. In 2013, 10 were adopted. In 2012, the number was 20.
Gownley said seeing the children's faces and the families come in to witness the event is "very touching."
"It's amazing for me," said Gownley. "It's the best part of the job. Children & Youth has a lot of sad times, but this is the day we celebrate all the hard work that the staff and foster parents and adoptive parents have done."