Adoption is something that happens when you follow your heart

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Two little girls giggle and play in the park. Children's laughter makes their mother, Amanda Ellison say, "I am a happy mom." Hope was adopted at three days old. Paige joined the Ellison's at six months old. Now they're old enough to run and jump together. At school are three brothers who had their adoption finalized on Wednesday. Amanda grins big and adds, "And we also just found out that we're going to be getting another one which is Paige's little brother." Then there's a biological step daughter and 27 previous foster children.

"All I've ever wanted was to be a mom," Amanda says with confidence. Amanda is unique, but she's an example to other prospective adoptive parents. Follow your heart is her advice. "I know I was born to do it. It's a calling, not something you just wake up one day and go, 'Oh, I think I'll adopt a few kids,' and so it's something you feel inside that you know is right."

Amanda is fully aware that people have anxieties about adopting foster children. "Most of them are not horrible children. They're just children who need to be loved and they need to know that they're not going anywhere," Amanda shared. Thanks to Amanda's willingness to provide that security five adoptive children and one on the way will grow up knowing they're right at home with mom and dad.

The united family is what CASA, an advocate for foster children in the courtroom, wants to achieve for all the children they represent. Director Rebecca Carlton says, "That's the whole point, is to help children find safe, permanent homes and places where they'll be forever and be with families." CASA hosted a press conference in recognition of National Adoption Month. The Ellison girls stole the event that was held at Cotton Patch. Manager Karen Kline allowed cardboard cutouts of children needing adopting to be placed on the restaurant's front lawn.  "I was in CPS (Child Protective Services) as an infant and adopted a little over a year, so we picked this to be the CASA Cotton Patch kids," explained Kline.

Children continue to wait for homes. "Now there are ten CPS children that are actually ready in Nacogdoches to be adopted, right now," said Child Welfare Board President Lisa King. There are certain requirements to adopt including background checks, home studies and training.    You can learn more about adopting on December 4th at 6 p.m. An informational session will be presented at the Lufkin Child Protective Services office in Lufkin on South Chestnut. Call Catherine Stalnaker, Foster Home Development at (936) 569-5322 or e-mail at