LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Seven Angelina County families added new members to their clans Wednesday morning as the county celebrated National Adoption Day. Judge Derek Flournoy presided over the cases as nine children officially joined their adoptive families.
Jaylen Phillips clutched a teddy bear and smiled for the first time after becoming a Phillips. He was adopted by Crystal Phillips who has taken care of him since he was nine-months-old.
Jaylen and eight other children changed their last names and formally became part of their permanent families Wednesday.
Alan and Melody Barker are a foster-to-adopt family.
Neveah, which is Heaven spelled backwards, enjoyed some cake, made some new friends, and explored the courtroom with her family.
The Godfrey family expanded their family from two to four.
The Godfreys say they have always considered adopting.
"I think we've always been open to it but we just had to wait till it was the right time I think," Tricey said.
And with more than 6,500 Texas children in foster care, these adoptive families hope their happy families will encourage others to foster and adopt.
"These kids need good homes and good families. I encourage more people to step up to the plate because it's well worth it and rewarding," Adam said.
Jaylen, Aiden, Neveah, The Godfrey girls, Desiree, Cade, Jonathan, and Jacob now call Angelina County home.