JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thanks to a Jacksonville Judge and an annual adoption event, 10 foster children will be removed from the system and adopted. The coinciding holiday is no accident.
Family Support Services hold an adoption event the weekend before Mother’s Day and Father’s Day every year, so fostering parents can celebrate finalizing adoptions twice and make the experience extra special .
Tameka Kinney is one of the lucky parents this year. Though she’s been taking care of her 1-year-old niece for some time already, she told News4Jax she’s excited to officially become a first-time mom.
“I’m 30 and I don’t have kids. I didn’t plan on having any kids-- and it was like I don’t know if I want to hop into parenthood. Then the opportunity came about and it’s like ‘O.K. yeah.’ Now this is my baby, she not going no where. This my baby,” Kinney said.
Judge David Gooding has been the officiant on the adoption hearings for years and he said he is indescribably happy the pandemic didn’t stop the process.
“March 16 is the first day I started presiding from my den at my home. And since I started presiding here, we’ve finalized 63 adoptions,” Judge Gooding said.
He spoke News4Jax before about the importance of having a family and he reiterated it again to us.
“Permanent family is important. Where do you go on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day if you don’t have a family? Where do you go at Christmas and Thanksgiving if you don’t have a family? Where do you got to celebrate births or mourn deaths if you don’t have a family? It’s all about having a family.”
For Tameka Kinney, the process of fostering was a roller coaster of emotions and has been a long journey, but she said she can’t imagine her life, or her past, any differently.
“I love her and that we came along way and we have a long way to go but we’re in it together."