Seven-year-old Ja’Nae smiled while she recalled the last time she stepped foot in the Downtown Tampa courthouse.
“I had a new mom and I was really happy,” she said with a big grin.
Janiece Golden was back at the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse again Tuesday morning to add another child to her family. This time, she was adopting 3-year-old Mahogany.
“It is really special because more emphasis needs to be put on days like to today to showcase that there are children who are loveable who are out there and need people to open their hearts and homes to them,” she said.
In all, 19 children were adopted in Hillsborough County on Tuesday. November is National Adoption Month and the Eckerd Kids organization, whose goal is to place children in “forever homes," helped host the adoption ceremonies at the courthouse.
“It really is a life-changing experience to see a child to have that forever family be official and it’s just a special moment,” said the Eckerd Kids executive director of communication alternatives for Hillsborough County. “This is one of the best days of the year.”
Across the room, Jennifer Adams held back tears of joy as the judge announced to a busy courtroom that the Adams family was officially adopting 2-year-old Layla, whom they took into their home as a 2-month-old.
“You get where you get emotional because it’s been a long haul,” said Adams, who has also adopted two other girls with her husband, Eric.
According to Eckerd, there were 19 kids adopted on Tuesday and 60 more children are awaiting adoption in Hillsborough County alone. Forty-one of those 60 kids are ages 13-17 years old.