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Leaders and families from Montana celebrate adoption at the State Capitol



Helena, Montana — This Tuesday, families and officials across Montana came together in Helena to discuss the importance of adoption in honor of National Adoption Month.

In the State Capitol rotunda, leaders celebrated the 25th anniversary of adoption, which was supported by Catholic Social Services of Montana, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Adoptive families related their experiences with the difficulties and benefits of the adoption process.

“Each and every one of us arrived here today from a different set of circumstances, and each of us is living a completely unique story, but I think it’s safe to say we’re here today to celebrate the gift of adoption with hearts fueled by love,” said Dani Erdahl, who has adopted multiple kids with her husband.

During the festivities, the St. Andrew School youth choir played two songs, one of which was called “Happy Adoption Day.”

Bradley Bragg claims that because he and his wife Alicia wouldn’t be able to produce biological children, they had been considering adoption for a long time. She works as a trooper for the Montana Highway Patrol, while he is a captain in the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office. They claim that because they work in law enforcement and have personally witnessed the sheer number of children in the state in need of loving homes, they contacted the Child and Family Services Division of DPHHS regarding the possibility of becoming foster parents.

“Last year, we got a chance to meet Zendell and bring her into our home – and then give Alicia the Mother’s Day gift she always wanted,” Bradley Bragg said.

This June, Zendell, aged fourteen, was formally adopted by the Braggs.

“Anytime you go from no kids to a teenage daughter, you’re going to have a lot of growing pains – for both the kid and for us,” said Bradley Bragg. “But we’ve been able to kind of work through everything and build that trust as a family. Getting to see her growth every day – and the growth that everybody around us sees, too – is what really makes it worthwhile.”

In large part, because more children are being adopted, Governor Greg Gianforte said on Tuesday that Montana has been able to lower the number of children in its foster care program.

“That’s a win we can all celebrate,” he said.

Gianforte’s idea for an adoption tax credit was passed by Montana lawmakers during this year’s session. A credit of $5,000 will be granted to families who adopt a child, and a credit of $7,500 will be granted if the kid is in foster care.

Bradley Bragg advises anyone thinking about adopting a child to investigate further.

“If your heart’s telling you that you should be looking at going through the adoption process, this is an awesome opportunity to not only change your lives, but change your child’s life and watch them grow and continue to build as the person that they can be with that great home,” he said.


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