Formalizing What the Heart Formulates
by Jessica D. Thomas
In 2011, when I became a Florida Bar Attorney, the aspiration to help my community was more than just a profession; it was my passion. The desire to use my skills to help others found a perfect nexus in family law and adoption. Having served as a Guardian Ad Litem for over a decade, I have seen the glaring need for children to have stable families with love and resources. Unfortunately, serving in our dependency system has shown me how often that is not the case. However, adoptions provide children with the permanency that they so rightly deserve with families who can provide well beyond all their basic needs.
In Florida, we have so many types of adoptions: Stepparent Adoptions, Adult Adoptions, Relative Adoptions, Dependency Adoptions, and Private Adoptions. As a practitioner, I have had the opportunity to see these proceedings occur for families across Central Florida. Nevertheless, as a member of the PRIDE Chamber, I have been educated. These processes are often discriminatory or prohibitive for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
I was invigorated to see the launch of 26Health’s Adoption Agency. The 26Health Adoption Agency was the first of its kind in Florida, with a focus on serving the LGBTQ+ community. I am grateful to be the Adoption Agency Attorney. My hope is that through partnership, we can ensure that even more of our most precious members of society can find a loving family.
When I opened the Thomas Law Firm, PLLC in 2015, I knew that my primary focus would be to ensure that a high level of work ethic would be applied to my cases while continuing to realize the humanistic element of my chosen practice areas. Therefore, my mantra is “I’m Here.” The simple assertion and confirmation that this process is not one you will face alone is paramount for clients in family and adoption law. There are times when news will be good and times when news will be challenging. Either way, knowing that experienced professionals at 26Health and Thomas Law Firm, PLLC are maintaining what is in your best interests provides comfort that can only be described with tight hugs and tears of joy.
One of the first adoptions I did was for a Stepfather who was adopting his wife’s two daughters. I find myself thinking of this case often. In this case, both children were old enough to provide testimony to whether they wanted to be adopted. The way these young ladies speak about his impact on them is life-changing. They share close bonds and have an overall desire to be inextricably connected. It’s moments like these that I live for at the final adoption law hearings.
Although my youngest adoptees are too little to give such commentary; the sentiments are still present, nonetheless. It’s present in their reach for their parent long before the judge signs the judgment; it’s present in their little heads resting on their dad’s shoulder in my office before I even file a petition. Most of all, it is present when I see the peace and feeling of safety in that little one’s eyes in the mere presence of true unrequited love from their soon to be parent.
I am looking forward to more of those memories with 26Health to continue to formalize that which the heart formulates.
Jessica D. Thomas, Esq. has been practicing for nearly a decade with extensive experiences. Her office is in Maitland, Florida but she practices all over the state of Florida. She recently became a partner with 26Health to be their Adoption Agency Attorney. Learn more about her by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/Thomaslawimhere/.