FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Over forty kids found their forever home Thursday at the Allen County Courthouse.
After 1,889 days, Melanie is out of foster care, and surrounded by a safe, loving family. The 12-year-old was all smiles, and her mom said she's always belonged to them.
"She's been with us for approximately a year; however, she's been in foster care for almost five years. We just knew. As soon as we saw her she was ours," said Stefanie Ratcliff, Melanie's adoptive mom.
Judge Charles Pratt said many kids like Melanie aren't so lucky, but the need is huge.
"That's one of the big myths of adoption, that the only kids worth adopting are the babies, but that goes against everything we know about brain development, about child development, and is that even the older children need a safe, permanent home," Pratt said.
Amirland Djaphar was also adopted Thursday. All eyes were on the three-year-old as Magistrate Morgan declared the Djaphars a family. His mom said after trying to have a baby for several years, adoption was the way to go.
"We had been trying for eight years to have a kid, so we just decided to take the fostering route in hopes to adopt, so we got called one day for a newborn from the hospital, and we went and got him, and we've had him ever since," said Ann Djaphar, Amirland's adoptive mom.
For these families, and more, it was a day full of love and tears of joy. Staff at the Indiana Adoption Program said they hope this day shows other families in the community the difference they can make.
"There's so many people that think, 'Oh, I couldn't take a child,' or, 'I don't know if I could do that.' Well, opening your home just to being a foster parent really does give a good idea of if you could do this, and it really helps so many people when you do that," said Vanessa Dove, of the Indiana Adoption Program.