For some East Texas foster children, the journey to find their forever family is long. That has sure been the case for Latisha.
We first introduced you to this bright young girl in June, 2002. She was 10 at the time. We brought you her story again in December, 2003. Still, her wait continued.
Then in March, 2004 we met up with Latisha again. At 12 years old, she told us she's ready to start her life over and hoped a forever family would soon be found. Unfortunately her wait would continue for another 2 years. But in this Gift of Love report, we find out why 2006 is going to change Latisha's life forever.
Latisha is no stranger to East Texas courtrooms. She's been in foster care for six years. But on this day, a hearing in Athens, Texas is a dream come true.
Judge Carter Tarrance asks Linda and Jerry, "If the court grants this adoption it would be as though this child were born to you?" Linda responds, "That's exactly what we want."
Jerry explains, "Linda and I are both in our forties and we never had kids and we realized we had a void in our life."
That void has just been filled as the Judge asks Latisha, "Are you wanting them to be your parents and is this where you want to be from now on?" With a smile Latisha says, "Yes sir."
"We knew we had a lot to give. We had space and time and the love and all the things that we felt a child would need and we weren't doing anything with it," says Linda.
"We're going to provide her with all the opportunities she's never had," says Jerry.
Latisha just turned 14 years old. Although having a teenager can be a challenge, Linda and Jerry wouldn't have it any other way. "Most people don't pick older kids. They want younger kids and to think that someone really wants me makes me feel special and I'm just grateful for it," says Latisha.
They all knew from the first time they met, they were to be a family. Jerry says, "We've had a lot of people tell us that she actually looks like she could be our birth child. So, maybe there's something there."
Looking at her new daughter Linda says with tears in her eyes, "She knows I love her so much and I wouldn't trade her back for anything."
Latisha says, "I feel like I'm in my forever home cause I am."
Seeing a family form right before your eyes, never gets old for Judge Carter Tarrance. "Some of these children, like Latisha, they have been through the system a long time and you've seen them go from misery to happiness. So it's a great feeling."
Jerry and Linda also have a great feeling knowing they are making a difference in a child's life. "The things that she's been through are just awful. No child should go through things like that but I'm so happy now that those things that will never happen anymore," says Linda.
Latisha adds, "I feel like I'm in a family, like I am safe and I am loved and I will always be safe and loved."
Then, the moment Latisha has waited six years for. Judge Tarrance makes the adoption final. "Good luck to you both. You are a lucky young lady and you are lucky parents."
Latisha looks at her new parents and says, "I love you all so much and thank you for choosing me."
If you'd like to know more about adoption, call our Gift of Love hotline, toll free, 1-888-kids-275. You can also learn more about children available for adoption on our Gift of Love web page.