National Adoption Day on Friday was a day of celebration for families across the U.S., including here in North Texas.
13-year-old Nathan says he prayed the day would come that he would finally be adopted. But until Friday, it was only a dream. He was running out of time, and the future was dim.
However, it all changed when Nathan found a forever family with Steve and Monica Wood.
The 13-year-old has been in foster homes since he was 2 years old. But, never again.
"We just prayed for a while — me and my other roommate,” he recalled. “And we were just praying and talked about what would it be like to have a family."
Steve Wood is the head football coach at Aledo High School. Over the years, he's mentored hundreds of young players. Nathan moved there to be with his new parents and now plays football in middle school.
"He had a smile on his face. You could tell he was happy to meet us, which meant a lot to us,” Steve recalled.
Sixty adoptions were finalized in one day at the Gladney Center for Adoption in Fort Worth. The Woods already have two children who are away at college, but they have plenty of love for another child.
Nathan was the oldest child officially adopted on Friday.
“This is going to be my child,” Monica said. “This is my son you're saying hello for the first time, and he's 13."
3-month-old Judah was the youngest child in the group of adoptions. Ryan and Sarah Tew will keep an open relationship with his birth mother. They say it's best for their new son.
"When he asks, ‘Tell me about the day I was born?’ We’re telling him stories about how we first met him. These are realities and conversations we're always going to have with him,” Ryan said. “He'll know he's adopted. We’re very proud of that."
As for the older kids, the Gladney Center says they age out of the foster home system at 18 years old. After that, they're on their own. About 64 percent end up homeless or in jail by the time they're 20 years old.