Clearwater, Florida – Forget formality: balloons and the Thunderbug transformed the Pinellas County Courthouse into party central Friday.
To mark National Adoption Day, some 18 families turned out to receive the paperwork that makes their love official, but not any more real.
Among those adopting were Dan and Kellie McAllister and the St. Petersburg family has had a little practice at it. “This will be our sixth foster child,” said Dan.
The halls of justice were noisy as family waited for the judge. Dan used the time to pick out paint from Corey’s hair. The 4-year-old twirling around in the pink dress says this is her “special day”.
One by one families go before Judge Raymond Gross to answer questions.
Kellie McAllister tells him, “We’ve had her since she was 8-months-old. She’s our daughter; this is a mere formality. She is our child.”
When it’s all over, parents get some paperwork, each child gets a stuffed bear and everyone lines up for a photograph. Applause fills the room. For once, this is a happy time in court with children finding their “forever families.”
Corey may not understand it all, but when asked how she feels, a one-word response “happy” tells it all.
In Pinellas and Pasco counties there are over 240 children in foster care eligible for adoption. To find out more , click on the following link: www.heartgallerykids.org
Kathryn Bursch, Tampa Bay's 10 News