A ceremony marks a big day for a Canandaigua girl and her forever family.
CANANDAIGUA — Maria “Mia” Jacqueline Loiacono wore a fancy pink dress with a satin sash and garland of flowers in her hair.
The occasion was one neither she nor many others will soon forget. Wednesday, July 25, marked Mia’s final day in foster care — and most significantly, her first day with her forever family.
Before the doors opened at the Ontario County Courthouse for Mia’s adoption ceremony, the second-floor atrium filled with dozens of family and friends there to witness the joyous event. Mia’s mom, Lindsay Loiacono, her foster mom since January 2015, said Mia insisted on dressing up for the ceremony from the moment she woke up.
“She asked every hour, ‘Is it time?’” Lindsay said.
Eventually, it was time.
"She’s ready,” said Lindsay, as Mia, too excited to stay in one place for long, darted among familiar, friendly faces in the crowd. Along with her mother, Lindsay, a single mom who runs an in-home daycare, Mia has a brother, Christopher Gallagher Loiacono, 6, and a slew of aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives.
Many people from the family’s hometown of Canandaigua and beyond attended the ceremony and celebration planned for afterward.
The adoption took place one day before Mia’s 7th birthday on July 26.
“This is the best birthday present ever,” said Lindsay, adding the adoption is a dream come true for both of them. Lindsay said she fell in love with Mia right away and for Mia, it was clear soon after being with their family that she was home.
Lindsay said all of her family members welcomed Mia with open arms.
“They are giving people who go the extra mile for anybody," Lindsay said. "I think Mia saw that and knew that right away.”
Sara Chappell, Lindsay’s cousin, talked about Lindsay’s love of children, challenges she faced as a foster mom and obstacles overcome to adopt Mia. Lindsay “had no idea how opening her home was going to change not only the life of her and her son but that of a little girl in need,” Chappell said.
Lindsay has been a karate instructor, owned and operated Canandaigua’s Fun Zone and is the current owner and operator of the daycare, Main Street Munchkins. She also operates a clothing closet that provides clothing and other needs to children in foster care.
Many of those who attended Mia’s adoption ceremony know Lindsay and family because of their community involvement and Lindsay’s daycare. Lindsay was thrilled to have so many turn out for the big day and said she hoped Mia’s adoption would encourage others.
“I hope there are other kids with people who will fight for them,” she said.