'I Can't Lose Him': Adoption Hearing Happens on Zoom

The Wieneke family has their court hearing online
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2020 12:55 PM CDT

The Wienekes were already in love with 2-year-old Jaden when the pandemic hit. That meant Jaden couldn't have a courtroom adoption, but thanks to judges' creative thinking, the hearing happened on Zoom. "On the day of the adoption, we all called in," Arkansas resident Kimberly Wieneke tells the Daily Mail. "I think there was 10 of us on the screen. And we had to be sworn in ... and of course they interviewed us, asked us questions and we had to testify." The story began last May when Kimberly and her husband Todd, who have two grown children, began fostering Jaden in Fort Smith just before flooding hit the area. "Unfortunately, our house was one of the homes that was flooded out," says Kimberly. "So I was already in love with Jaden."

"And I was like, I can't—I cant lose him, I can't let him [go to] another home." ABC News reports that Jaden had been born in prison and lived with a family member until entering foster care. He then became one of "about 30 kids" who went "through our home," says Kimberly, and "we loved them all," but "with Jaden ... there was such a connection. He's such a funny little guy. He keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh a lot." Luckily the Wienekes' online hearing went well, and they became Jaden's adoptive parents. Other families have been adopting the same way amid lockdown orders triggered by the coronavirus. "We are so grateful that they are finding ways to keep the process going as every child deserves a safe, stable and loving home," says the Arkansas DHS. (More uplifting news stories.)

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