Tyler (KYTX) -- It's a special moment 11 families have waited for a long time. Friday marked Smith County's 10th Annual National Adoption Day. CBS19's Jaime Gerik takes us inside the celebration that sent 15 children home to their forever families.
8-year-old Ashley and her 7-year-old brother Tristan are officially Gibsons.
"It feels like Christmas. We're Gibson's forever there's no changing that now," Kati Gibson, an adoptive parent, said.
The state's biggest need is finding homes for older children, siblings, and children of color. Ashley and Tristan spent 3 years in foster care.
"Older siblings, they are in the system a lot longer," Kati said.
She and her husband Daniel have 4 biological kids already. They say adding to the full house was a calling from God.
"If we have fun and excitement in our house, and there are children longing for that, then why not try?" Kati said.
Judge Carole Clark says the event is the highlight of her career.
"These kids want to have a mom and a dad and a family so that they can go to school and just be like regular kids, and not have to say they are a foster child," Clark said.
A total of 143 kids have found their forever families since Smith County's first adoption day 10 years ago, that includes the 15 adopted Friday. Smith County's Young Lawyer Association is behind the event.
"As an attorney, I see so much of the adversarial process, but today it's an absolute celebration and so it makes me proud to be an attorney," Taylor Heaton, President of the Young Lawyer's Association, said.
There are now two of these adoption events a year in Smith County. One just like it takes place in the summer, because they can't fit the all in one day.