PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Tonight, 11 children are going to sleep in a forever, loving home. That's because they were all adopted Friday in a mass adoption ceremony held at the Jackson County Chancery Court.
The children and their new parents waited with eager anticipation. One by one, they went before Judge Jaye Bradley, handling the legal proceedings for the 11 new families. It was worth the wait for new parent Jacqueline Lacy.
"I feel that there's a place in our heart for children, and everyone deserves love, and everyone deserves a loving home," Lacy said.
That's exactly what they need, according to youth court Judge Sharon Sigalas.
"These children have lingered in foster care for two, three, even four years. Today is the end of that," said Sigalas.
It's also a new beginning for new parent Ann Newburn.
"Well, I opened my heart and my home to these children to start with, and I never thought about them coming up for adoption, but they did, and I got to adopt them. I'm so proud today," Newburn said.
New parent Patrick Breland was proud and emotional.
"We've always wanted to adopt, and give her, give a child a better life," said Breland.
Some parents were moved by a higher calling. One of them is Amy Garrison.
"We felt led by the Lord to go into foster care, and she was our first long term placement, and it just happened that we were able to adopt her today," said Garrison.
Now, for the chancery court judges who hear these cases, most of the time they're dealing with much more controversial subjects, even painful subjects. Friday's proceedings were a whole different story for Bradley.
"Today is probably the happiest occasion in chancery court. We have a chance to put families together rather than take families apart. That's something we don't get to do very often," said Bradley.
For the children and the parents, the sky is now the limit, as each child let a balloon fly into the air.
The children adopted today ranged in age from two to 15. These mass adoptions usually take place once a year in Jackson County.