BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — November is National Adoption Awareness month and many people are celebrating the joy of offering a forever home to children in need.
On Friday, the Department of Human Services kicked off its 17th annual National Adoption Day where over 40 adoptions were finalized.
The Wedel family of three turned into a party five, after signing the official adoption papers for one-year-old Rose and three-year-old R.J.
"The adoptions are hereby granted, RJ and Rose, from this day forth will be the lawful children of Mr. and Mrs. Wedel and the younger siblings to Charlie," said Judge Raymond Marquez.
An emotional Amanda and Jeremy Wedel sat in the courtroom, with tears filling their eyes, as they signed adoption papers.
The couple says the journey has been long but meaningful.
"They never have to worry about someone taking them away from me again," said Amanda Wedel. "I love that feeling and I am sure he does too."
The National Adoption Day festivities included visits from Disney characters, photo booths, food, toys and more.
The Kern County Department of Human Services shared that anyone who can open their heart to a child can adopt.
"If you are interested in becoming an adoptive parent remember you don’t have to be married, you don’t have to own your own home, and you don’t have to be rich," said Dena Murphy, director for the Department of Human Services.
"You just have to have love to give the children an appropriate environment."
The Wedel's share, their home is the first time siblings R.J. and Rose have been placed together.
R.J. alone has been with four different families, which took a toll on him.
Rose, for six months, was on life-saving medication and doctors weren’t sure of her survival. In just an over a year, all of that changed.
"I am just a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and this was meant to be," Amanda Wedel said. "These babies are awesome and perfect."
The Juvenile Justice Center states from 2018 to 2019 they have been able to finalize over 200 adoptions for families and hope to continue to add more.
"Don’t be scared, but it's tough," Amanda Wedel said. "Just know that the outcome is worth it."