National Adoption Day began in 2000 and is normally celebrated on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
According to the website, the day “is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families” or their “forever families.”
Today, 43 children between the ages of three months and six years were officially adopted at the Oncenter by their forever families, symbolized by the ringing of a small brass bell.
Most families agreed the road to adoption is a tough one, but well worth it.
Kellie Ellis and her husband were foster parents to two-and-a-half-year-old twin girls with the intent to give the girls back to their birth mother, but circumstances had changed.
“With a lot of court dates and a lot of struggle, the mom did end up surrendering them to us, and it was a very hard decision for her,” Ellis said.
“At the same time, I was hugging her and telling here I won’t do wrong by them. It was such a difficult decision on her half, but it was also the most brave thing I think she could have ever done.”
Ellis said the positive energy in the room was palpable and couldn’t be more proud to be included in the day’s celebration.
“You look at all the little kids here today and the happy parents – you can feel the love,” Ellis said. “You can feel the excitement in the room. To be a part of it is just – I can’t believe I’m here.”