CLARK COUNTY — Four of the five McClanahan children entered Clark Circuit Court 4 Friday dressed to the nines.

Elizabeth, Alhana and Emma wore matching dresses that were teal, burgundy and lilac.

Damion wore a bright red sweater and their oldest sister, Taigin, was home sick, but very much there in the hearts of their parents.

The kids know them already, because Patrick and Stephanie McClanahan have been taking care of them for almost six years.

After a short court session, Circuit Court 4 Judge Vicki L. Carmichael declared them family officially, even though they always have been.

“These kids have been through so much and I just,” Stephanie said. “I’m just so glad it’s over, they’re home now.”

The McClanahan kids have a new last name and a stable, loving home.

“She’s going to make me cry, just talking about it,” Patrick said.

November is National Adoption Month and something special happens at the Clark County Justice Center each year that doesn’t at any other local courthouses. On adoption day there’s a large reception in the hallway near Clark Circuit Court 4 and cameras are allowed in the courtroom to capture the joy.

This year 20 families were part of the festivities and had their adoptions finalized.

“I think this day is special because it’s something in our area, this is the only county that does this,” said the McClanahan’s attorney, Claire Hagedorn. “November is adoption month but Clark County is the only county that sets aside a special day and just does all adoptions that day. It’s a really special thing for my clients to be able to come when all of these clients are coming. Adoptions are celebratory all the time, but getting to do it in this big celebration is fun.”

Hagedorn said the adoption process can be complicated, which is part of why Friday’s event is so special.

“I have three adoptions today, seven kids total,” she said.

The U.S. Children’s Bureau said that in 2021 there were more than 114,000 kids waiting to be adopted who were at risk of aging out of foster care without any permanent family connections. On average children wait 34 months to be adopted.

For the McClanahan’s this day has been a long time coming.

Both Stephanie and Patrick said the children had dealt with abuse and neglect.

“They’ve seen a lot of things they shouldn’t see. The world’s an ugly place, it can be they’ve seen their fair share of ugly,” Patrick said.

Patrick is the children’s maternal grandfather.

“For the kids’ sake, they need a place they know is theirs, it’s home, they’re no longer in limbo,” he said. “That’s the thing about this today that’s exciting is we know, and now they know, there’s no floating around, there’s no back and forth — is it going to happen, is it not going to happen, it’s all about security.”

For 9-year-old Damion, he said he enjoyed the reception after the adoption.

Next, the family is going to work on spelling the kids’ new last name.

“That’s been something we’ve been working on, the spelling,” Patrick said.

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