There are more than 3,000 children in Texas waiting to be adopted. So you can imagine when one of those kids finds a family it's a joyous occasion. Friday afternoon nine children were adopted into seven forever families in honor of the 7th Annual Brazos County Adoption Day.
There's a lot of excitement and emotion wrapped around this event, said Andrea Barnett, Child Protective Services Regional Adoption Supervisor.
She was born March 30, 2012.
"Maggie was born and 48 hours later they called us and asked us if we'd like to take a two-day-old baby girl," said adoptive parent Ally McNeill.
Less than 30 minutes after that call, James and Ally McNeill would be the parents of a brand new baby girl.
"It was April Fools, and I told my family and I prefaced it with, "this is not a joke and it was overwhelming, but it was like this overwhelming sense of joy," said McNeill.
The McNeill's aren't the only parents embarking on a new journey into adoption.
"We are here this afternoon to celebrate the adoption of nine children into seven forever families," said Liana Lowey, Executive. Director of Voices for Children. "On my way over here I kept thinking, 'what was one word that captured the day today? And all I could come up with was 'powerful.' Everything is happening as it should be."
Living in foster care is now nothing but a mere glimpse of the past for many of little faces at the Brazos County Administration Building. Every family has a different story; but each share one mutual outcome:
"For those of you who are here today, you don't realize what an impact you are about to have. I'm going to tell all of the kids that come up today how lucky they are to be chosen to be part of a family," said 361st District Court Judge Steve Smith.
The McNeill's have since moved from College Station to North Carolina.
Both parents say the adoption of Margaret Lynn McNeill or Maggie for short has been a long and interesting journey, but the wait was well worth every second. Nineteen-and-a-half months after taking Maggie into their home, the McNeill's along with seven other families finalized their adoptions in front of Judge Steve Smith, who too, was adopted at just nine months old.
"I was conceived on July of 1951 by two people I don't know and whom I never met. It just so happens Bill and Maxine Smith had lost a daughter to Leukemia just short of her 15th birthday," said Judge Smith. "And it just so happens they wanted another child. I was in San Antonio and so on April 24th of 1952 my mother and dad drove up to San Antonio and picked me up and drove me back home."
"Somebody asked me before we got on a plane to North Carolina if it was a formality and I said, 'I guess you could call it a formality, but today means forever," said McNeill.
According to Child Protective Services there are currently 60 children in Foster Care in the Brazos Valley waiting to be adopted.