Fifty foster children officially found forever families in Bakersfield on National Adoption Day. They all were adopted during an emotional ceremony at the Juvenile Justice Center on Friday. Two of the men presiding over the mass adoption have personal ties to the event. Barbara Harris is a single mom. She has raised 14 foster kids over the years, but her permanent family grew by three. Harris adopted three girls Friday, three sisters, after caring for them as foster children for the past five years. Three girls on the cusp of teenage-hood. They are so helpful to me. I love 'em with all my heart, said Harris. This is a day that Candice, Amber and Anna have dreamed about for years, after being removed from an abusive home. Most of the time with my real parents, they were in their room and I was taking care of my sisters, said Candice. It's a day Barbara Harris never imagined, until only recently. It's been probably the last six months that I actually, just felt like it was right. I think God was talking to me. In conjunction with National Adoption Day, five adoptions were officially formalized in three separate courtrooms. One of the officiating judges knows full-well the impact this day will have on the lives of all these children. Judge John Brownlee was adopted and has one adopted child himself. In a word, it was a blessing. I was smiled upon from above. For some reason, my biological parents, didn't want me and the Brownlee family actually pursued it, he said. Also overseeing the ceremony, Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall, also an adoptee, and parent to one adopted child. And it helped me set my life in motion to make me a positive person and to give me my life as it is today. After the ceremony, there was an adoption day pizza party for the newest forever families. Sadly, there are 2,400 children in Kern County's foster care system. Some 600 are currently cleared for adoption. A sobering footnote to a ceremony filled with the intoxicating realization among these kids that their days as foster children are over. It means that I'm actually going to be with a parent that I love, said newly adopted Amber Harris. There's a lot of work to be done...a lot of work. But at least this day is the day that gives us hope. This day is the day that shows us what success looks like, said Elena Acosta, Assistant Director with Child Protective Services, If you are interested in adopting a child or becoming a foster parent, you can contact the Department of Human Services at 631-6006.
/ Source: KGET-TV