COLUMBUS — Ed Wemhoff and his wife Lisa have blended a bigger family over the last five years, mixing their two younger biological children with the adoption of three older kids from foster care — and things have worked out just fine.
“We’ve learned a lot over the last five years, but you’re always learning,” Wemhoff said while describing how he and his wife contemplated becoming foster parents five years ago before deciding to take on the daunting task.
“We sent the first one off to college this year, so we’re down to four right now,” the Platte County sheriff said.
The couple attended last year’s National Adoption Day event in the community room of the county courthouse.
National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 110,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families.
A conflict will keep the couple from attending this year’s National Adoption Day celebration Nov. 18 at 1C Church, 2200 28th Ave., but they urge others to mark the occasion.
A lot of potential foster parents worry about becoming too attached to the children who may at some point be returned to their biological parents, Wemhoff said.
The sheriff said their adoptive children are just regular kids who needed a house and family.
“We recognized a need and we found we could provide it,” Wemhoff said. “Any time you can shine a positive light on a child it’s very beneficial.”
The Wemhoffs completed the adoption process of the three kids — two girls, ages 18 and 14, and a 17-year-old boy — about 18 months ago.
“They’re officially ours,” Wemhoff said.
The couple’s younger children are both boys, ages 10 and 14.
“The biggest change we had at home five years ago was having a teenage girl move in. Now that was different,” he said with a laugh.
Communities across the country celebrate the adoption of foster children the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In 2016, approximately 4,700 children were adopted by families during the 17th annual National Adoption Day celebration in more than 400 cities across the United States.
In total, the national celebration has helped nearly 65,000 children move from foster care to a permanent family.
Organizers of the local event, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., have invited about 65 families from Platte, Colfax, Butler and Nance counties involved in adoption from foster care to attend.
The event at 1C Church also features a bounce house, carnival games, door prizes and free lunch.