MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Families all over the country celebrated National Adoption Day on Saturday with special ceremonies, and renewed the call for much needed foster parents and parents willing to adopt.
Memphis is one of 400 cities across the country that opens its courtrooms specially on a weekend for National Adoption Day.
The goal is to raise awareness so more families will foster and adopt -- something that is desperately needed in the Mid-South.
With big smiles and wiping away tears of happiness, the Rays celebrated welcoming two new members to the family.
“Preparing for this day, I became so emotional because I’m thinking, 'Wow this is their last day in foster care,’” said Chinishe Ray, adoptive mother.
You can't tell by looking at them, but 5-year-old Kobe and 7-year-old Kaleb have been through a lot over the past three years. Their father passed away from an apparent overdose and their mother couldn't be found.
They were in foster care with Chinishe Ray's mother, and with a family member for a time.
A new, happy journey began Saturday as they were officially adopted by Ray, who held the ceremony on National Adoption Day for a reason.
“To bring awareness to adoption, and the need for foster parents and foster-to-adopt families,” said Ray.
With everyone wearing costumes for a superhero themed party, the kids were showered with hugs, prayers and games from their new loved ones -- with their adoptive mother to commemorate the joyous occasion.
“They're superheroes to me because they've overcome so many obstacles and yet, they're so happy. They just keep going and they keep me going,” said Ray.
Thousands across the country, like Kaleb and Kobe, are specially adopted on National Adoption Day.
Youth Villages, who oversaw their foster care and adoption, says 350 kids in Tennessee are in need of foster care or adoption right now -- and they are always looking for families to help.
“We need a lot of families that will open up their hearts and their homes to our children. They need families just like any other child needs family. They need somebody to advocate for them at school,” said Melinda Wilbanks, Youth Villages.
For Kaleb and Kobe, their happy ending is also a new beginning. And they already appreciate everything their foster mom turned adoptive mother does for them.
“I would hope people at home would think about it. And I would hope that they would open their home and their hearts to a child in need,” said Ray.
There is an approval process, including classes and training, to become a foster parent. You must foster for six months before you can adopt.
Youth Villages says it needs everyone’s help to look after local kids who need homes.
If you’re interested in getting involved, click here.