North Carolina

More than 150 children celebrate annual adoption day

It was standing room only inside the Cumberland County commissioners' chamber. Families were called up, one-by-one, and presented with an adoption certificate. They had their pictures taken.

This year more than 150 children were placed into their forever homes.

Husband and wife Natallia and Bryan Steele finalized the adoption of their youngest child, Samuel Steele, who is 19 months old, on Monday.

"My husband and I were inspired to adopt after we were not able to have children on our own," Natallia Steele said.

Their journey to adoption began when they became foster parents, which then led to the couple adopting three children: Azaria, Quintin and Samuel.

"The children are beautiful," Natallia Steele said. "This was my dream. I believe it has to come from the heart."

Steele said the process can be a roller coaster ride but that it made her journey complete.

"Once the adoption process was complete it helped me realized what family is all about," Natallia Steele said.

Kelly Bullard, senior pastor of Temple Baptist Church, gave the invocation and the keynote speech. He shared how he and his wife, Lindsey, went through the adoption process with their son, Caleb. The couple have adopted two boys Caleb and Camden. Bullard spoke of the joy that he and his wife share, as parents.

Daniel Smith was another proud parent at the event on Tuesday. He adopted three daughters, Annellina Smith, Aulora Smith and Leilani Smith, who are 13, 11 and 9.

"I have been their stepfather for five years and it has been a long process," he said. "It has been an amazing experience for us to come from where we started to here today."

Smith said he is grateful for the experience and their willingness to accept him as their father.

When asked how excited he was about the day, his daughter answered for him and said "overjoyed."

Lisa Scales, Cumberland County clerk of court, fought back tears as she watched the proceedings.

"It's an opportunity to give a child a second chance putting them with a family that loves them," Scales said.

Because of the number of families involved, Scales said she hopes to move the ceremony to one of the larger courtrooms.

The month of November is National Adoption month. It brings awareness to the urgent need for adoptive families for children in foster care.

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