Saturday is National Adoption Day and for the 11th year, Omaha took part with a courthouse celebration where 29 children received their forever families.
Eight-year-old Patiance has lived up to her name through three years as a ward of the state. “I didn't know she was in the system and I wasn't aware because they didn't really realize she was Native American and when they did realize, they found out I was her paternal grandmother,” said Carrie Voss.
“This is my first time being here with grandma, my sister and my cousin,” said Patiance. “I love them very much."
"I'm just happy that I finally get to have my sister at home,” said Anaiyah Brown. It is a home made permanent through adoption.
“It's just wonderful to have them stay with relatives, people they've known for a very long time and then we're able to make that official through a day like today,” said Treva Haugaard of Nebraska Families Collaborative.
Eight-year-old Hayley wasn't adopted by family, but to be with family, her 11-year-old brother Paul, who has cerebral palsy.
"We've had him for three-and-a-half years now and we found out he has some siblings so we wanted to bring her into the home so when life takes its course, Hayley can take care of Paul and keep the family together,” said adoptive parent Scott Johnson, who himself was adopted as a child.
He and his wife now have three biological children. While they help paint a brighter future for Hayley and Paul, they have been foster parents and role models to many more.
"Realistically, we've probably got 250 kids that call us mom and dad,” said Johnson. “We've always had an open door philosophy in our home, there's always another plate at the table." Their secret is love for their kids and for one another, something that was in no short supply on Saturday.