Gift of Love: Fred, Finally Gets Forever Family

This is a special week for East Texas foster children. November 14 was National Adoption Day. On that day, 10 local children found their forever families. One of them is a young man named Fred. We first introduced you to Fred in June of 2004 during our Gift of Love report. He was 7 years old at the time and unsure of his future. His future is now looking much brighter. Here's an update in this Gift of Love report.

This day is the beginning of a new life for nine year old Fred. He stands in a Smith County courtroom waiting for the proceedings to begin. Then, he's approached by the presiding judge. "I'm Judge Clark, Fred. How are you?" "Good," replies Fred. She goes on to say, "Why do you think you came to see me today?" Fred says, "To make my adoption official." "Is that a good thing, Fred?" "Yes mama," says Fred with a smile.

Fred has been in foster care for more than 3 years, removed because of neglect. When he was in the second grade his teacher was Jill Shelby. Little did he know, she would one day become his mother.

"He's just a really strong kid. He's gone through a lot and I just think we've done what God's asked us to do and, sure, I think raising a kid's tough, but what ever strength we need God's going to give us cause he's given a lot to Fred," says Jill.

Fred's new dad, Chris Shelby, says today is a culmination of prayer. "It's God's plan. I believe that he gave children parents and parents children to complete the family. It's so vital. I mean, it's brought a whole set of realities and blessings since he's been in our home."

Today, they became a family. Holding Fred's small hand, Judge Clark proclaims, "By the State of Texas and the power vested in me is your official name is Fred Scott Shelby. Congratulations!"

As the crowd erupts with applause, some wiped tears of joy as this young man's wait for the Gift of Love is finally over.

As the Shelby's leave the courthouse, headed for a celebration, they reflect on the gift they have just been given. Chris says, "He means to me that God is good. He answers prayer and that he bestows love on us in a lot of different ways and he showed Jill and I that he loves us by bringing Fred into our family and we love him very much."

"I think he's proof to me that out of any situation good can come from it and this is the happiest kid I know and he could have reason to be the saddest but he wakes up every morning, singing in the shower. He just always has a smile on his face. That infects me," says Jill.

Fred looks up at his new parents and simply says, "I'm happy that I now have the Gift of Love. I love them."

Fred's dream of a house full of love, is now reality. Chris says, "This is a wonderful day. Fred is an outstanding young man. We love him dearly and he makes us complete as a family. We love you very much son. I'm honored to call you son today. We love you!"

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

Gillian Sheridan reporting.