West Virginia parents, teen share stories to mark National Adoption Month

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Adopting a child isn’t something Caleb Korth and his wife ever thought about until they went through five miscarriages.

“We really got to the point where we wanted permanency. We wanted to have a child and everything that went along with that. We were willing to do whatever we could do to make that happen,” Korth told MetroNews during a Wednesday event to mark National Adoption Month.

Korth is a pastor at Bible Center Church in Charleston where the event was held.

The couple first laid eyes on their adopted daughter the day she was born, something Korth said not many adoptive parents get to experience.

“The birth mom wanted to have the baby and then she wanted us to have the child right away to attach. I cannot understate how grateful I am for that,” he said.

Korth’s daughter is now 9 years old.

A few years later, the same biological mother gave birth to a son who the Korths also adopted. Korth’s wife ended up getting pregnant a few years after that and they now have a biological 22 month old baby girl.

“I could never have written this story,” he said. “It’s a different journey that I never would’ve imagined taking.”

Michelle Thompson’s story is different. She adopted a 17 year old daughter. She said one of the many misconceptions about adopting an older child is that the parents miss out on a lot of “firsts” whether that be a baby’s first steps or first words.

Thompson said there are so many more “firsts” that she’s just as excited to witness as her teenage daughter becomes a young adult.

“We were there for the first vacation, for the first time she drove a car, for the first time she went to a prom, when she graduated and then I got to be there for the birth of her first two children,” she said.

Trauma can impact the way a child reacts in certain situations, Thompson said, which is why it’s important to ask “what is your story?” instead of “what is wrong with you?”

“Instead of blaming the child, ask questions, understand their situation. Listen to their story and find out what has happened in the past and love them anyway,” Thompson said.

Dominic Snuffer, 19, was adopted at the age of 13 after many moves across the state with his four siblings. Being one of five, he said it was challenging to keep all of his biological siblings together. They were in two foster homes in Ripley and Martinsburg before getting adopted by their current family in the Charleston area. Snuffer now goes to Winfield High School.

“I always reflect to that adoption day and tell everyone it was one of the best days of my life,” he said.

Snuffer said his biological parents were addicted to pills and “would do anything to get them.” He said his parents had him diagnosed with autism “just to receive a check.”

“Back then, I knew right from wrong, but none of my siblings did, so I was more of a parent to them,” he said.

During Wednesday’s event, Snuffer said he had to “suffer through the bad to get to the good.” His future plans include graduating high school and continuing his education at Marshall University while also spreading awareness about people like him.

“I want to spread adoption of course, go to college, get my psychology degree and become a lawyer,” he said.

Wednesday’s event was hosted by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Will Thompson and Mission West Virginia.

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