Touching yet unlikely adoption takes place in Eau Claire

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 3:54 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - An eight year-old boy who has been in foster care for more than 1,500 days was adopted in Eau Claire this morning.

Damon Smith officially became Damon Phillip Langhoff today, as he struck down an imaginary gavel, finalizing his adoption in a virtual court of law.

“It’s kind of nice that I don’t have to be like well I’m moving tomorrow, and again and again and again. I just know I’m here!” Damon said.

After more than four years in the foster care system, he can now, officially, call Jimmy Lee Langhoff, dad.

“It’s emotional, it’s been two and a half years in the making,” Jimmy said.

However, the story of Jimmy and Damon is even more inspiring than you may think. It’s an unlikely story of breaking down barriers and overcoming the odds.

“I am not what somebody would call an ideal candidate for someone who would adopt a child … I’m a 51 year old, gay, convicted felon and I’m a recovering drug addict and alcoholic,” Jimmy says.

After receiving his fifth DUI twelve years ago, Jimmy knew he needed to turn his life around.

“I accepted the gift of recovery and it’s something i do every single day of my life.”

years of growth and dedication later, Langhoff’s sponsor suggested becoming a foster parent.

“I thought he had lost his mind,” Jimmy said.

Still, he decided to look into it.

“I was like well I’m really only interested in adoption, but i prayed about it.”

At first, Langhoff was told he would only be able to foster - as he did not meet some requirements for adoption. Then, he got a call from Eau Claire Human Services.

“She said, ‘Jimmy you’re not going to believe this. There’s a five year old boy who lives six blocks away from you and he needs to be adopted... and I knew,” Jimmy said.

“Most people don’t go through this but I did and it’s a very long journey but I figured out how to get out,” Damon says.

A long journey no doubt, but once things became real Wednesday morning, there was just one thing left to do, celebrate.

87 people joined in the zoom call to support the Langhoffs during the final adoption.

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