TODAY | November 07, 2013
>> welcome back to "today" on a special thursday morning. as you may be able to see, we turned our courtyard into a plaza. eight important special families.
>> they have gathered from upstate new york to finalize their adoption , filling out stacks upon stacks of paperwork. we are almost there. one that makes this possible is the honorable martha wolf. she is here.
>> good morning.
>> this is so special. this is something you started if your courtroom to celebrate national adoption awareness month. tell me what you do and how you mark this occasion.
>> well, each and every year we gather at the en-center ball room with the help of the executive joanie mahoneyny and my great administrative judge james taromi. what started with a handful of families to honor and raise awareness for foster and adoptive homes has grown into an annual community event attended by over 600 people.
>> you have a lovely tradition. every time an adoption is finalized, you ring a bell.
>> we do, we thought that was much more appropriate than banging the gavel. when hospitals who ring a bell every time an infant is born, we thought the bell would symbolize the creation of a forever family.
>> your family is about to get even bigger. you got three biological children and you are adopting little chase today?
>> yes, we are.
>> tell us about this journey and why you decided to do this?
>> well, our older girls wanted me to be a baby years ago. we had the three. we thought that wasn't the route we wanted to take. and we got involved in foster care and never looked back.
>> talk to me about foster care versus other forms of adoption .
>> well, for us, finance has played a big part in it. we are didn't have any idea that you could adopt through the county. we had been on the website and learned through that. so.
>> this was a family affair . you had to get a buy if from all the kid. tell us about that family meeting. i think it was at a denny's.
>> yes, it was at a denny's. we met the three, this was before anna was born. which met the three at the time. we had to have a family meeting and say, is this what we want to do? because we needed full buy in by our older children and it was a unanimous yes.
>> christina, you are the oldest child, what is this process over the years, these adoptions, what have they meant a to your family?
>> well, for me, personally, it has been a humbling experience having to sacrifice room and you are like supplying everyone. i love the kids, this is great. they fit right into the family.
>> she has the pens. should we do the honors and make this adoption final?
>> that will be great.
>> earlier in court proceedings, we went over all the necessary documents. the only thing that remains is the motion that the adoption of chase be final and when we have a big family such as this, we always can for a family vote. so all those in favor of the adoption of chase say aye.
>> congratulations. it's official.
>> thank you so much.
>> congratulations to you.
>> thank you.
>> we are going to be ringing a bell.
>> we are just getting started. we will have several families make their adoptions final. coming up, we will have that in a moment. first this is "today" on nbc. [ music playing ] .
>> we are back now with the adoption of our celebration, 12 children here to finalize their adoptions and judge walsh hood i give you the floor, your honor.
>> thank you, matt. there are currently over 100,000 children in foster care in this country right now dreaming of adoptive homes t. families here this morning have opened up their hearts in homes to adopt and you will make a profound difference in the lives of. during the actual adoptions month, the judges in my district, if fifth judicial district ring a bell every time they finalize an adoption and create a forever family. this morning, we ring the bells 12 times, a celebration of chase, jada, jeffrey, stefan, sarai, emaline, gretchen, nicholas mercy, vida, and tyreke. skraulgs u congratulations, everyone.
>> congratulations, everybody. judge, thank you so much.
>> thank you, matt.
>> it's really wonderful. thanks to the families for sharing this moment with us and our viewers. i don't know if you noticed, there are some orange bags at the end of the plaza there. there is one for each family. they have been donated. we ask you to take them home with our best wishes.
>> we want to thank kimberly brookes. she has been taking the first official family portraits all morning. we hope you have inspired a lot of people and educated a lot of people watching about what adoption is all about. can we have that one more time?
>> for all the families.
>> congratulations. we want to take a look at our new forever families.
>> congratulations, everyone.