Lance's Journal: Opening Hearts & Homes, Dec. 3

They went in without parents, but left part of a loving family. The 8th Annual Adoption Day festivities took place in downtown Lincoln on Saturday.

Excitement was in the air as 61 foster kids were officially adopted into 36 families.

Watching children without families be welcomed into loving homes is truly a sight to behold.

Emotions were running high in the courtroom as Scott and Brenda Griffith of Lincoln made the new additions to their family official.

They already had a full house, but they found it in their hearts to open their home to a pair of the most fortunate kids in Nebraska.

It's unlike any other day of the year in the Lancaster County Courthouse.

Brenda says, "It's like a big party to just say it's done. The years of waiting."

For Scott, this is a day filled with face painting, balloon sculpting and pure, unadulterated joy, "It's definitely a positive atmosphere and you can tell that just look at the kids, 'How many kids are crying?', do you hear any? None. There's no crying going on just jumping around, playing with things."

This is what happens when faith and hope collide, "Families are finally coming together legally, they were maybe together for years and it's just a complete celebration of a family uniting and it is just a good deal," exclaims Brenda.

As the Griffith family awaited the courtroom ceremony, behind the scenes, Judge Toni Thorson prepared for one of the most satisfying days her job has to offer, "Adoption Day is a wonderful event where we get to see children find their forever families and that's how they refer to them. It's inspiring and it's why we do this to see children get to a place where they can have a safe, happy permanent home and so we're just thrilled to be able to be a part of it actually."

Hallelujah and Judah are two of 274 fortunate foster kids who have been adopted in Nebraska this year.

But there are many more children out there looking for a forever home.
452 kids in Nebraska are currently available for adoption.