Gift of Love: National Adoption Day - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/24/04-Tyler

Gift of Love: National Adoption Day

The number of children in foster care in the United States unfortunately continues to grow. Right now, it stands at 600,000. Of that number, 12,000 are eligible for adoption, meaning all parental rights have been terminated. November 19th was a special day in making some of their dreams come true. It was National Adoption Day. Since it began in 2000, it's the first time Smith and Gregg Counties have taken part. Eighteen East Texas children found their permanent home on that day. We went in the courtroom with them as new families are formed.

One by one families came forward, ready and willing to open their hearts and homes to a child. As two little girls approached the bench, Judge Carol Clark asks, "Do you know why you came to visit me this morning?" They respond in sweet voices, "Cause we're getting adopted.  It's a good thing." 

Chad and Bonnie adopted those sweet little girl; 7 year old Kaitlyn and 6 year old Kamryn. "They're beautiful children and we're happy. They're my sunshine's," say her new parents.

"They'll have a place to stay forever come home to and I'll be called dad or daddy and that's a great feeling,"

"I love my mommy and daddy a whole bunch," says Kaitlyn with a smile.

On any given day, Judge Clark has 300 foster children on her case load in Smith County. Today, gives her a sense of accomplishment. "You know, you think of yourself and you know we take our homes for granted, our parents for granted and for many of these children they've never had it and they have no memories of mom and dad. I'm thrilled for them. I'm happy for them. It warms my heart."

As a child gets older, it's more difficult for them to find a forever family. Two teenagers are counting their blessing on this National Adoption Day. Thirteen year old Early now has a family of his own. Meanwhile, it was an emotional day for 14 year old Stephanie, a special needs child. Years of sadness turned in to tears of joy as Steven and Patty Foster became her new parents.

The youngest child of the day adopted, nine month old Noah. He was born three months premature. He spent the first 5 months of his life in the hospital, undergoing heart surgery, reflux surgery and being treated for a chronic lung disease. Because of a swallowing problem he has a feeding tube. But to his new parents, John and Shannon he's their little miracle boy. "We've been married for 7 years and we tried to get pregnant but to no avail," explains John. Shannon goes on to say, "Then we found out about Noah and had the opportunity to go met him and we fell in love at first sight."

It was a day of celebration for these new families and for the children, it was the gift of a lifetime... the Gift of Love.

Statistics show that about 25% of the children in care will find a permanent home. That means 75% will not. Judge Clark is hoping awareness from National Adoption Day will help improve the odds.

If you'd like to know more about fostering or adopting a foster child, call our Gift of Love hotline. The toll free number is 1-888-kids-275.

Gillian Sheridan, reporting.

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