JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Fourteen foster children in Jackson County now have new families and permanent homes. Thursday, the Department of Human Services sponsored an annual adoption day ceremony at the Jackson County courthouse to finalize the new agreement.
Love and laughter echoed throughout hallways of the Jackson County courthouse as kids from as young as 16 months to 13 years old celebrated the beginning of a new life.
"In chancery court, we spend a lot of time separating families. It is nice to be able to put families together. These children have come through a tumultuous past and these families, in many cases, save the lives of these children," Chancery Court Judge Jaye Bradley said.
Kim Mansfield fought back tears as she prepared to walk in to court and finalize the adoption papers for her son, Jonathan.
"I hated that my husband could not be here because he is in Japan, but we are very excited about this. We waited for two and half years," said Mansfield.
Minutes after the adoption was official, the newly formed family walked out all smiles.
"It has changed our lives and to know I have helped this child," Mansfield said.
New mom Tanya Grace also had the jitters before officially making Baby Tristan her own.
"For someone like me, who can't bear children, it is a blessing," said Grace. "Children come into your life for a reason. They are there so you can steer values, goals, and so much love."
But there are still so many kids in need of adoption. According DHS officials, in Jackson County alone there are more than 200 children in the system.
"So far this year, we have had 23 adopting prior to today, and with this 14, which is great. But that is just a drop in the bucket. So, we are recruiting for foster and adoptive families. We need people in community to get involved," said Adoption Supervisor Shebra Hinton said.
These new parents said by getting involved they are giving the children a better life and a better chance for a brighter future. If you would like to learn more about fostering or adopting a child, please call the Department of Human Services at (228) 769-3444.