An extremely emotional day for dozens of local families that have just become whole, thanks to a national event that is uniting more than twenty children with their new homes.
The Seventeenth Circuit Court celebrated its ninth annual national adoption day this morning by finalizing 25 adoptions of children previously in foster care.
Eager families gathered at the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center to wait their turn in legalizing the adoption of a new son or daughter.
Winnebago County is the only county in Illinois to celebrate National Adoption Day, which raises the awareness of the 107 thousand children currently in foster care. In its nine years, 200 children have been adopted into Winnebago County families on the annual celebration.
"We're going to be a family," said Andrea Fiorenza after adopting the son she's been a foster mother to. "No more DCFS, no more having to come in to court, and we can just plan vacations without worrying about, you know, this visit or that visit. So, we're very, very, very excited."
National Adoption day is not only a day to finalize adoptions across the country, but to celebrate families who adopt, and encourage more to do so.
"We definitely see the need in this, and just hope to be an example to other parents out there, and other families," said Jason Johnson, who adopted his son today with his wife Jereka. "To take part in National Adoption Day, take in a home, especially for loving parents. It's definitely a good thing."
Jereka Johnson grew up in the foster car and felt she wanted to give back by adopting one of her own.
The average child waits for more than three years to be adopted.