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Woman adopts 2 foster kids after Orlando residential home closes



After a residential home closed the love between two children and their group home mother didn’t end.What happened in dependency court Friday makes for one special forever family.Friday is a day the Sotomayor kids won’t soon forget.Judge Greg Tynan of Orange County’s Dependency Court handed over the adoption decree to LaDonna Comer, the teens’ group home mom who adopted them. “All official, you can get the birth certificates,” Tynan said.That was followed by applause and cheering. Comer’s cared for them for almost four years.Fourteen-year-old Christian Sotomayor and his 15-year-old sister Arielis met Comer when they were placed at Bridging Lives, a group home for youth in foster care.Unfortunately, the home closed its doors.”When the group home closed, we were kind of worried we’d be switched to a new group home until the adoption was final. I was very grateful she let us stay in her house. Thank you,” Arielis Sotomayor said.“I love them dearly. I would do anything for them and we formed a great bond so, there was no other doubt that these were my kids,” Comer said.Comer was a live-in house parent for Bridging Lives.”This is a wonderful day. I knew that in her heart she loved all the kids that were there. She keeps calling me her supervisor, but we’re friends and family,” Debra McGowan, owner of Bridging Lives Group Homes, said.Charles Vance is the adoption supervisor for One Help United. “This is a special one. This is a story of resilience commitment and a desire to become a family,” Vance said.Oftentimes, older children and sibling groups are more difficult to place. “It’s exciting. It’s been so long since we entered the system,” Cristian Sotomayor said about Friday’s adoption.”It’s been so long since we’ve had like a family,” Cristian’s sister added.But Cristian Sotomayor says to never give up.”It’s going to be really hard at first, you know it’s a new environment. Just get into it, embrace and it will get easier eventually,” Cristian Sotomayor said.Their new mom says she’s been thinking about opening up her own group home.”My goal is to open up a residential home so we can pour into other children like I did with them,” Comer said.Adoptions at the Juvenile Justice Center in Orlando on East Michigan Street have been in person and virtually. It all depends on the comfort level of the families.

After a residential home closed the love between two children and their group home mother didn’t end.

What happened in dependency court Friday makes for one special forever family.

Friday is a day the Sotomayor kids won’t soon forget.

Judge Greg Tynan of Orange County’s Dependency Court handed over the adoption decree to LaDonna Comer, the teens’ group home mom who adopted them.

“All official, you can get the birth certificates,” Tynan said.

That was followed by applause and cheering.

Comer’s cared for them for almost four years.

Fourteen-year-old Christian Sotomayor and his 15-year-old sister Arielis met Comer when they were placed at Bridging Lives, a group home for youth in foster care.

Unfortunately, the home closed its doors.

“When the group home closed, we were kind of worried we’d be switched to a new group home until the adoption was final. I was very grateful she let us stay in her house. Thank you,” Arielis Sotomayor said.

“I love them dearly. I would do anything for them and we formed a great bond so, there was no other doubt that these were my kids,” Comer said.

Comer was a live-in house parent for Bridging Lives.

“This is a wonderful day. I knew that in her heart she loved all the kids that were there. She keeps calling me her supervisor, but we’re friends and family,” Debra McGowan, owner of Bridging Lives Group Homes, said.

Charles Vance is the adoption supervisor for One Help United.

“This is a special one. This is a story of resilience commitment and a desire to become a family,” Vance said.

Oftentimes, older children and sibling groups are more difficult to place.

“It’s exciting. It’s been so long since we entered the system,” Cristian Sotomayor said about Friday’s adoption.

“It’s been so long since we’ve had like a family,” Cristian’s sister added.

But Cristian Sotomayor says to never give up.

“It’s going to be really hard at first, you know it’s a new environment. Just get into it, embrace and it will get easier eventually,” Cristian Sotomayor said.

Their new mom says she’s been thinking about opening up her own group home.

“My goal is to open up a residential home so we can pour into other children like I did with them,” Comer said.

Adoptions at the Juvenile Justice Center in Orlando on East Michigan Street have been in person and virtually. It all depends on the comfort level of the families.

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