'Relief': Parents finish adopting child via Zoom under coronavirus lockdown

One Ohio couple didn’t let the novel coronavirus crisis get between them and their growing family.

As many official activities, like work meetings and interviews, move to being conducted online, so, too, have child adoptions.

Despite the pandemic, Casey and Laura Wieck couldn’t wait to make things official with their six-month-old baby James and managed to do so via Zoom, a videoconferencing tool, on March 31.

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Laura took to Instagram to share news of the accomplishment, writing: “It’s finally official. Say hello to our son, James Harley Wieck.”

“He came into the world in September and has been in our arms since the moment he was born,” she wrote, giving her thanks to Adoption Link Inc. “Thank you for allowing us to have a ‘virtual’ hearing to get this finalized. We have been awaiting this moment for months.

“Be prepared for some major cuteness sprinkling your newsfeed,” she finished off the caption.

Columbus Judge Thomas O’Diam was in charge of making the adoption official, his third since the global pandemic started.

“We’re affectionately referring to it as ‘cyber court,'” O’Diam told Today Parents. “My clerks are all at their individual houses working remotely.

“It just makes us feel good that we’re able to continue and give some sense of normalcy to people when it seems like nothing else is normal.”

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Despite the milestone event not occurring in person, the Wiecks were still able to have their loved ones with them, getting the go-ahead on Tuesday morning to share the Zoom link with their family.

In a screenshot of the meeting, the Wiecks can be seen with baby James, surrounded by members of their family and O’Diam of the Greene County Probate Court.

In the Zoom meeting, Today reports, the judge said: “Once I sign these papers, which I’m doing right now, he is officially your son.”

The virtual room erupted in cheers.

Canada is making its own arrangements for at-risk youth in Ontario’s child welfare system. Those who pass the cut-off age during the virus outbreak will be allowed to remain in care.

The Child Welfare League of Canada issued a statement this week, calling on governments to “immediately and indefinitely” suspend legislated age cut-offs for youth reaching the age of majority during this hard time.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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