Fifty-two Connecticut kids are being welcomed into new homes. It is Connecticut Adoption Day, and emotional ceremonies took place all across the state Friday.
“I never imagined that it would be this,” Kally Moquete said during her virtual court hearing to adopt.
At the noon hearing, there were high emotions, celebrations, and a judge officially made Kally and Zander Moquete mother and son.
“The adoption agreement is approved. Congratulations!” a judge said, while others at the ceremony applauded. “I’m going to change the name officially then to Zander James Moquete.”
“Hello Mr. Moquete! Kally Moquete joked.
There are big plans.
“He will be going out to eat, he will be getting some gifts and celebrations, and he will probably get a lot of affection that he's going want to push off like every teenager. But he's going have to give some hugs!” Moquete said.
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Zander is ready for the first official night in his new home.
“I’m going to feel absolutely amazing, probably exhausted,” he said.
He hoped he would get to this point ever since he was put into the care of the Department of Children and Families.
However, growing up in foster care is not the only challenge he’s faced as a kid.
“Zander's unique in that he's a cancer survivor,” Moquete said. “He at the age of two was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor. It made him that much more of a fighter.”
Now, Zander knows his future is bright.
“I’m open to new windows,” he said. “I plan on going to college for business.”
He gives a lot of credit to his mom.
“Honestly she keeps me really on track. She keeps me motivated to continue doing what I want to do,” Zander said.
For Moquete, it is a life-changing day.
“That's my son,” she said. “I don't refer to him as a foster son. I don't refer to him as anything other than my son.”
Like Zander, who is 16, a quarter of children in DCF care are between the ages of 12 and 17. In Connecticut, there are a total of 3,438 children in care. There are 839 aged 12-17.
Not all adolescents are eligible for adoption. Those who are, and want to find families, voluntarily appear in a Heart Gallery on the DCF website.
That is why this adoption is so special to Moquete.
“I grew up as a kid and care,” she said.
She knows exactly how it feels to be a teen in foster care.
“I knew what it was like to go to great homes. I knew what it was like to go to less than warm homes,” Moquete said. “As a teenager, it was hard to get picked. It created an environment where I was in a room that I knew I wasn't going to be in for a long period of time.”
As a school social worker, Moquete has made it her life goal to help kids.
“Honestly she does a lot for me,” Zander said. “Vacations. Also making sure I’m track with school stuff, helping me find work.”
Now most importantly, her efforts are going to her son.
“I hope to give him everything that took me a while to have, everything that he wouldn't have been able to have, and to help them determine what success means for him,” Moquete said. “Let him know that when he turns 18, this is for life. It does not matter what what it looks like, how old he is like, I will be there. And I'm going to be a long-term resource, because I love him and he's my son.”