Thousands of Adoptions Finalized In Time for the Holidays

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Billie and Mike Minard welcomed little Madison Nicole into their home when she was just two weeks old. Madison is coming up on her second birthday now, one she'll celebrate with her new forever family.

"We've treated her like she was our own since she came. We really don't feel a whole lot [different]. It's nice to know that it's definite and she's not going anywhere," said Bille Minard.

The Minards are among the thousands of families nationwide that finalized adoptions Saturday on National Adoption Day. In Adams County, seven children went home for the holidays with their new families.

"For the cases that we're involved with, usually the rights of the parents have been terminated or relinquished. So these children are losing their biological family, but now they're gaining another family who wants to bring them in and have them a part of their lives forever," said Wendy Keele, Outreach Coordinator for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of South Central Nebraska.

Many of the adoptive parents have biological children as well, but said they could always make room for another child.

"What's one more? She needed us and we decided to take her on," said Mike Minard.

"We talked about it and decided that was something our family could do to help other people that need a home, versus bringing another child into the world. Do our part that way I guess," Jerry Hamik explained of his family's decision to adopt another child.

They're actions that the adoptive parents hope will encourage others to provide homes for the more than 100,000 children in the foster care system.

And adoptions are more than just the parents' say-so. It's often a full family affair. 14-year-old Kelcey Fischer said she was a little nervous at first, but is glad her parents talked with her and her siblings before adopting a brother-sister pair already living with them through foster care.

"They made sure we were comfortable with it too. And we kind of knew it was going to happen because we all love them," said Fischer.

More than 4,500 children were adopted nationwide on National Adoption Day.