NEW HAVEN, Conn. — It was a special day for dozens of Connecticut children who are settling in with their now-legal families. In celebration of National Adoption Day, which is officially recognized on Saturday, Nov. 19, courts across the state were filled with nothing but love on Friday.
One of those courts, on Walley Avenue in New Haven, was where Lily Clarizio, a 21-month-old little girl, officially got adopted.
Keren Clarizio is now "mom" to Lily. She already has two other adopted children. One of those children, David, just so happens to be Lily's half-brother.
"My focus is just, doing the best I can to be a parent and I just am so thankful that I've had the chance to raise these kids," said Keren Clarizio.
Keren started her adoption process more than a decade ago with her now almost 15-year-old, Ray Clarizio. It began after she saw a flyer from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), and knew she would be the right woman for the role. She worked with DCF's licensing program and they trained her to be a foster or adoptive parent.
"I'm from a big family. My, I'm one of six children. My mother is originally adopted and she's one of seven that were adopted," Keren Clarizio said.
After she adopted Ray, she took in another little boy named David. She has fostered nine kids in her lifetime, three of which became her children.
"Mom's just been there for as long as I can remember," Ray Clarizio said. "The one who asked me, hey, would you be interested in having a little brother? The one who always took me to school...like mom was always the one that was there."
After adopting Ray and David, Keren got another call from DCF.
"Actually, DCF called me and they said they knew that I had David and wondered if I was interested in fostering his half-sister," Keren Clarizio said.
She fell in love with Lily and has had her ever since she was little. But on Friday, she officially became her legal daughter.
"We're just a normal family," Keren Clarizio said.
Though Keren is a single mom, she said she does not do it all alone. She has the support of her family and DCF. For anyone who is ready for the responsibility, and thinking of adopting, here's her advice.
"It's certainly not easy...but it's worth it," Keren Clarizio said.
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