Long Road To Love
It took more than three years for Kelley Swift to adopt her little boy Jackson, whom the Department of Children and Families (DCF) brought to her home in June 2017 just a month after his birth. The wait - while Jackson was happily in her home - was hard but the result was perfect, and the adoption was final on November 20, 2020, which was when Connecticut celebrates Adoption Day.
"This child is the love of my life," said Ms. Swift of Fairfield. "I couldn't have had a better social worker and team. DCF worked so hard and I had an outstanding social worker, and it still took more than three years."
That social worker, Kiara Rosario, received high praise from Ms. Swift during the adoption ceremony. "I wish every child could be so lucky to have a social worker like you, " she stated. "Quite literally, you saved his life."
Ms. Swift, a former prosecutor who now works for the United Nations, said, "I always wanted a child, but my life led me on a path I didn't expect." In her early 40s, Ms. Swift began considering international adoption but learned how difficult it had become. "So many countries closed external adoptions," she said, and in 2016, she decided to get licensed by the Department as a pre-adoptive home. "I was in it solely to adopt a child," she said.
Jackson would be her one and only child.
Ms. Swift picked up Jackson from the hospital and brought him home at just five weeks old. "It was pretty scary," she said. "But I have an incredible support system. It's a big village, and I've gotten close with people in the foster care network and other pre-adoptive families who adopted." One of Jackson's best friends, only three weeks younger, also was adopted, said Ms. Swift. In addition, Ms. Swift's closest friend is a lawyer who adopted a child five months older than Jackson.
"My whole life led me to this point," Ms. Swift said. "All the difficulties and uncertainties were worth it. I see that little face - he's remarkable -- so funny and smart. What a character! He has such a personality."
Jackson loves sports and being active, and he loves his community.
"He's very friendly, and everybody knows him in the neighborhood," Ms. Swift said.
The adoption proceeding is the legal recognition of the family's permanent bond, she said.
On adoption day, Ms. Swift had over 50 people attend the virtual court hearing from across the country, and from around the world! Her family and friends joined from New Jersey, Oregon, New York, Rhode Island, Copenhagen, Vienna, Canada, London, Brussels and Serbia.
The adoption proceeding was also attended by Jackson's the Birth to Three worker who “... in a sense co-parented with me,” said Ms. Swift. The virtual hearing also included Jackson's former day care provider as well as members of the CT state legislature, Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey, and Representative Brian Farnen.
"It means we have our family finalized and official," Ms. Swift said. "I couldn't love him more, and I'm happy to finally have him mine."