GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - They say that in their hearts they were already a family, but now it's official. On Friday in Gulfport, as part of National Adoption Month, Judge Margaret Alfonso gave seven foster children the gift of a family to call their own.
Jennifer and Jason Hinkel say when two-year-old Megan and her four-year-old brother Peyton came into their lives, the void that was in their hearts went away.
"We tried for a long time to have biological children and that just wasn't meant to be," said Jennifer Hinkel. "God spoke to us and told us this is where we needed to go. We really feel like this is what we were meant to do."
Two-year-old Madison became the third child to be adopted by Paula and Jimmy McKay of Saucier. The McKays also have four biological children, including Bianca Ladner who said in her house everyone is treated the same.
"We all argue like brothers and sisters, and we get along sometimes," said Ladner.
The road to becoming a family wasn't easy for the seven children and their new parents. The foster parents say the adoption process can take years, but is well worth the wait.
Paula McKay said, "There's a lot of kids that need parents. There's a lot of children out there that need a family. I would recommend to anyone, if you could adopt, I would recommend them to adopt."
While some of the children are too young to completely understand what's going on, what the parents want the children to know is that Mommy and Daddy love them.
"How much do I love you?" Jennifer Hinkel asked four-year-old Peyton.
"Up to the moon and down to the dirt," he replied.
Hinkel continued, "But where did you come from?"
"In your heart," Peyton said.
Now that the adoptions are over, the parents say these children can trust that they'll always have loving homes.