2-Year-Old Arkansas Boy Adopted Over Zoom After Coronavirus Pandemic Canceled Court Hearings
Two-year-old Jaden found his forever home with the Wieneke family in Forth Smith, Arkansas — albeit under unconventional methods.
Kimberly Wieneke and her husband had been fostering Jaden for over a year. At that point, their family decided they wanted to welcome Jaden as their own son.
“We knew the day they terminated [the parental rights] that we would be adopting April 16,” Kimberly told local news outlet KNWA.
But due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the in-person adoption court date could no longer be held on April 16. However, the couple realized their court hearing could be held virtually with the same result.
They did just that, and soon enough, Jaden was officially adopted by the loving family during a Zoom video chat this month. "We see all the pictures after the adoption day -- they're standing there with the judge, everyone is smiling," Kimberly said. "We didn't get that."
Adoption Specialist Ashley Elam and Foster Care Worker Addie Martin both told KNWA that family services have remained committed to kids' safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's really changed our whole interaction with these kids and the ability to check in on them," said Martin.
Regardless of how the adoption took place, the Wienekes are over the moon that Jaden is officially a part of their family. "Sometimes it feels like not real, I mean we sit and look at him and we're like, 'He's ours,' " Kimberly said.
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