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17 families adopt 27 children in Hillsborough County

All the children have been through the state's foster care system.

TAMPA, Fla. — It's known as the happiest day at the courthouse.

Hillsborough County held its annual National Adoption Day celebration Friday after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 17 families adopted 27 children in Hillsborough County over the last several months including Freya and Mya Adony who were officially adopted Friday during the courthouse celebration.

Their mothers, Mayra Alvarez Adony and Carolina Adony said a few years back they wanted to expand their family and were inspired by their 7-year-old daughter, Nicole, to go the foster care route when Nicole said she wanted a sister her same age to play with.

They found Freya and Mya through the Heart Gallery of Tampa. The parents decided to move from Miami to Tampa to start the process of fostering the sisters in hopes of eventually adopting them.

"It was love at first sight," Mayra Alvarez Adony said.

In front of a courtroom full of people including legal representatives, biological family members, and other friends, the judge made it official by granting them a petition for adoption.

The family of five embraced and cried. It was a dream come true.

"When you fall in love with a child the way we fell in love with these kids, you feel them with every fiber of your being that they are your children and somebody stands up in front of you and says nobody is going to take them away from you, ever," Adony said.

Another mom, Joanna Lusk, was at the celebration with her newly-adopted son Jack who she started fostering in the middle of the pandemic right after he was born.

"He gives me an amazing life, you know, he makes my life better than I thought my life would be. So I give him a home and I give him the stability that he needs, but he brings the joy," Lusk said.

Jack's biological mom passed away and his biological grandmother was at the courthouse Friday to celebrate the adoption. 

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who has two adopted sons herself, read the adoption proclamation to kick off the happiest day at the courthouse.

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