Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services celebrates 531 successful adoptions
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - November is National Adoption Month and the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services celebrated some of the success it saw this year.
Dozens of families gathered to celebrate their adopted families and share their experiences right before the holiday.
“It’s been a perfect fit and I’m proud to call him my son,” adoptive father, Stacey Barr, said.
This year, Mississippi saw 531 adoptions finalized. Stacey Barr is one of the parents who made the choice to grow his family.
However, that wasn’t always the plan.
“Dakota had been with me for about 3 years. All I ever signed up to do was be a foster parent,” Barr said.
Dakota joined the foster care system when he was just 12 years old. After bouncing between three houses in three years, Dakota met Barr.
“I didn’t even know what he looked like or what his name was. All I knew was ‘Mr. Stacey.’ And, I remember going into that house and I got a room to myself. So that, that as a whole, it kind of made me feel welcomed,” Dakota said.
Barr said it didn’t take long before his bond with Dakota grew and they both knew that their situation wasn’t just temporary.
“Once he settled in, knew that I cared, knew that I loved him, I knew right away that this will be where you’re at, you’re never leaving. And he knew that too,” Barr said.
Dakota said before meeting Barr, he had a different perspective on his situation in foster care. But he’s glad Barr changed his mind.
“Having that love, it just made me feel at home and it helped everything. Like, I wanted to be adopted. Before that, I didn’t want to be adopted but once I felt that love from a father, I knew that ‘Hey, I want some more of this. I want this,” Dakota said.
Dakota said so many kids go through the foster system hoping someone loves them like their own and he was lucky enough to find someone who did just that.
“It’s a weird feeling because, you know, growing up, blood was everything. And moving into a transition where I never met that man a day in my life and being treated like a son by a complete stranger, that speaks so much to me as a kid,” Dakota said.
Barr added that when he decided to adopt, he believed he would be help Dakota. However, he quickly learned Dakota impacted his life more than he could have imagined.
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