GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - More than a dozen South Mississippi children went to sleep Friday night with something they didn't have when they woke up that morning, a family to call their own.
As part of National Adoption Day, foster families went to Chancery Court Judge Margaret Alfonso to have their adoptions finalized.
Larry Taylor said he and his wife are getting a second chance at parenthood by adopting Zoe and David from foster care.
"I'm retired Navy so I didn't get to see a lot of my older kids grow up because I was deployed," said Taylor. "I've got to be here pretty much every day with these guys because we got him right out of the hospital as a newborn and we've been here the whole time and he keeps me young."
The National Adoption Day gathering in Gulfport welcomed 13 children into loving permanent families.
Carma Howze adopted her nephew. "I don't know how to explain it, but it's very exciting. I'm happy to have him. I'm glad that he didn't get caught up in the system or mixed up in the system. I'm just very happy to have him," said Howze.
Adoption experts said for the families, the journey isn't over. Permanency Specialist of the Gulf Coast offers access to counseling, babysitting, and behavior modification classes.
Myia Lane, a staff member said, "Even after adoption, you still have other issues that may rise up. We don't want the parents to feel like they're neglected and they're out there by themselves with unresolved issues to deal with on their own because they don't."
The King family all wore the New Orleans Saints' black and gold to showed how little Ethan is a permanent part of the family team.
"We'll be glad that he's officially ours even if it has always felt like he is you know," said David King. "It's a feeling families say they know will last forever."
Professionals Advocating for Children Together, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Resilience of Coastal Kids, and the Quota Club all worked together to make the adoption celebration special for the new families.