Peter Gierut and his husband are one of eight families who will adopt children in Scott County for National Adoption Day, observed on Nov. 19. During the ceremony, paperwork for 13 children will be finalized to officially make them a part of their forever families.

“Throughout the year, we have lots of adoptions that occur. So in November, we like to take that time and highlight the day and bring as many families as we can together,” said Christa Hefel, recruitment and training manager for Four Oaks Family Connections.

Hefel and Gierut are both strong advocates for foster care and adoption. Both have experience fostering children over the years.

Gierut, who is an attorney and a magistrate judge in Scott County, will adopt three sisters at the ceremony. The Gierut family had been fostering the sisters for close to a year before the opportunity to adopt the girls came. “The first time that we had them in our home was, I think, the most memorable part of that. And it was kind of instantaneous. It was an instant bond,” Gierut said.

Gierut and his husband were married last April. The family of two were doing short-term foster care before the three sisters finally did their long-term stay.

“Foster parenting is a big need. There’s a lot of people, I think, that don’t think that they could provide a good home for a child. I had no parenting experience before I became a foster parent,” Gierut said.

Four Oaks Family Connections helps a lot the families in the state of Iowa because they serve 69 of the 99 counties in the state. The organization hosts orientations weekly online for people interested in learning more about foster care and adoption. The weekly sessions are free.

“People get intimidated by thinking about parenting a teen,” Hefel said. “Or you know, three little children like Peter was able to take in his home …it can be intimidating. But like Peter said, we do have a lot of support to offer you.”

According to the Iowa Department of Human Services, in fiscal year 2022, about 300 children were placed in foster care in the eastern region of Iowa. Specifically in Scott County, 93 children were in foster care in the fiscal year. Of those children, 205 were placed with relatives or close family friends.

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