National Adoption Day has impacted the lives of thousands of children, including many right here in East Texas. This national effort, held last week, began eight years ago to raise awareness of the 129,000 children waiting for a forever family in the United States. Tonight, in a special KLTV 7 Gift of Love report, we take a look at one of the local families changing a child's life.
Jason and Rheanon Arbuckle enter the Smith County courthouse on a day when families are created and children receive the gift of love.
"I'm just thankful that God saw for it to happen on such a special day, because this is something we have been trying to do for the last 2 years. So for it to happen on National Adoption Day, I don't believe was coincidence."
They are making 11 year old Kathleen, or Katie as she likes to be called, a permanent part of their family.
"It's not really a decision we got to make. It was kind of made for us when God brought this little girl across our path, I mean what other option is there?"
Katie was removed from her home about 3 years ago.
"Today means that what we have been going through will finally be over and I will finally have a good family that cares about me and loves me," said Katie.
And that love has helped her to grow both inside and out.
"Leaps and bounds. She totally a different child than since we first got her. She now has a voice."
"I get decent meals. I care more about my school work. I get to go to church a lot more," said Katie.
In an twist to this story, there were actually three adoptions today for this family. Jason is adopting Colby and Ian, his two stepsons.
"It feels great to me because I'm getting fully adopted and I have a better dad than my old dad was."
"I love him and I really care about him...it's a happy day and I can finally call myself an Arbuckle."
"It's definitely closure after 9 years of watching them go through the things that kids go through from a broken home."
It's an emotional day as they complete one family and add a new member.
Tears of joy as Colby and Ian finally have the dad they've always dreamed of. Let's hope they can return the favor with good behavior.
"What's your definition of good?"
As for Katie, she says there is no one she would rather be with than her forever family.
"They are very special. They're really one of a kind," said Katie.
They will all leave the Smith County courthouse today as a family, changed forever and bonded by love.
"I love you. Thanks a lot."
If you'd like more information on fostering or adopting, call our Gift of :ove hotline, toll-free, at 1-888-KIDS-275.
Monday, June 17 2013 11:41 AM EDT2013-06-17 15:41:16 GMT
An accident on Highway 271 in front of the University of Texas Health Science Center has blocked one lane of traffic. Two vehicles are involved in the wreck, one of which rolled over. A southbound laneMore >>
An accident on Highway 271 in front of the University of Texas Health Science Center has blocked one lane of traffic.More >>
Sunday, June 16 2013 10:39 PM EDT2013-06-17 02:39:53 GMT
Hundreds of animals were killed when a fast-moving fire ripped through an exotic pet business in Kilgore on Saturday. The fire started just after 1 p.m. at a property in the 300 block of Harris St. FlamesMore >>
The fire started just after 1 p.m. at a property in the 300 block of Harris St. Flames were seen shooting from a structure that held hundreds of exotic animals and pets.More >>
Sunday, June 16 2013 10:39 PM EDT2013-06-17 02:39:29 GMT
A morning collision killed a 22-year old East Texas man. DPS troopers tell us 22-year old Mario Aguilar of Henderson veered into oncoming traffic, when his vehicle collided with a pickup truck on highwayMore >>
A morning collision killed a 22-year old East Texas man.More >>
Sunday, June 16 2013 8:57 PM EDT2013-06-17 00:57:59 GMT
From the Smith County Sheriff Department: After a five-mile, high-speed chase that began in Whitehouse and included an attempt to strike a Smith County Sheriff's Office Patrol Sergeant with a vehicle,More >>
After a five-mile, high-speed chase that began in Whitehouse and included an attempt to strike a Smith County Sheriff's Office Patrol Sergeant with a vehicle, a man and a woman are both in custody.More >>