Seventeen adoptions are finalized in display of love, commitment.

National Adoption Day: joined by their son, Ethan, 6, parents Kelly and Tom Davis, of Cumberland, sit in Family Court yesterday with their newly adopted daughter Kiara.

Joined by their son, Ethan, 6, parents Kelly and Tom Davis, of Cumberland, sit in Family Court yesterday with their newly adopted daughter Kiara.

The Providence Journal / John Freidah

PROVIDENCE — Just four months into her life, Hannah got sick and doctors suspected cancer.

Her parents, Tom and Kelly Davis, of Cumberland, promised that if she made it through, they would “give back” somehow.

It turned out Hannah had only an eye condition.

The Davises fulfilled their pledge yesterday, eight years later, with the adoption of Kiara Jinsha Davis.

The 15-month-old Chinese girl had puffy cheeks and jet-black hair that sprouted out of a pink bow on the crown of her head like a well-pressured water fountain. Standing in front of Family Court Judge Haiganush R. Bedrosian was the final step in a 2½-year process.

“We chose China because girls are just tossed aside there,” Kelly Davis said, mentioning a philosophy in China that values sons over daughters. “She has brought a lot of happiness to our family.”

Adoption is the “greatest thing we do in this court,” Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr. explained during the state’s well-attended National Adoption Day ceremonies. Jorge Garcia, deputy director of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, said there “really is no place like home.”

Seventeen adoptions were finalized or affirmed yesterday in Rhode Island. Similar celebrations were held yesterday throughout the country to put a spotlight on the adoption process and number of children needing guardians.

One guest speaker, Carole Carpentier, of Burrillville, first met her now 13-year-old daughter, Michelle, at a group home for girls. Michelle had reached the age limit for the home and would have to move, but desperately wanted to stay in the area and her school.

“Are we crazy to think about this?” Carpentier said remembering what she and her husband, David, thought initially. “We raised our two sons and life was beginning to be ours.”

They adopted her anyway. With Michelle by her side, Carpentier encouraged all to not believe in the myths that all DCYF kids are bad or that a child is too old to adopt or shouldn’t be considered because he or she has failed at other places.

Since age 3, West Warwick High School senior Emily Pappa moved 21 times before being adopted two years ago. She said she now has a mom she can trust and feels “loved and grateful.”

Pappa wrote a speech, which was read aloud by another person because Pappa was nervous, “Now I know there is hope out there.”

The Davises had four children — Allison, Melanie, Hannah and Ethan — already, so it was a “family decision” in 2005 to look for a fifth. The parents and Melanie flew to China to visit an adoption agency. Grandpa Bob Shea said Kiara was the only one from the videotape that wasn’t crying. He said it is still her smile that he loves best.

Eleven-month-old Ashton was all smiles when it was his new parents’ turn before Judge Bedrosian. He smacked the table, demanding attention as if to say, “Order in the court. All eyes on me.”

And the court was jam-packed with friends and relatives of Robert Rocchio Jr. and Arthur Taylor, the two adopting Ashton. The Cranston residents, who have been together for the last three years, believe they are the second same-sex pair in Rhode Island to adopt as a couple. Most donned happy tears as Taylor talked to the judge. (G & F: please see our response)

Three days after contacting a Baltimore, Md., agency, they flew out and met Ashton’s birth mother, who picked them to raise her child.

“We felt him kicking [in her stomach],” Taylor said, “… and we were there for the birth.”

Rocchio said, “This is unbelievable. I’m just so happy.”

Taylor said he would like to put rest to another myth. He said a domestic adoption — about three-fourths of yesterday’s 17 unions were domestic adoptions — is not a “laborious, time staking process.” And despite the time it takes, he said these children need parents to love them.

He said, “I always wanted to be a father and didn’t think it would ever happen.”

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