Fernandina Beach family adopts 6 siblings just in time for holidays


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Fernandina Beach couple expanded its already large family -- just in time for Christmas.

Santa will be busy at the Cooks’ house this year!

Keith and Shannon Cook, who already had five children, ranging in age from 13 to 24, adopted six siblings Thursday during the 15th annual Home for the Holidays event in Judge David M. Gooding’s courtroom.

Gooding finalizes large batches of adoptions every year, just before the holidays, thanks to a partnership with Family Support Services of North Florida.

Gooding has presided over more than 4,000 adoptions. He initiated the Home for the Holidays event in 2004.

More than three dozen adoptions were finalized Thursday, less than a week before Christmas.

The Cooks said this moment came right on time.

“(We’re) speechless, emotional, very teary-eyed. It was a lifetime experience,” the couple said. “(It) felt right. It was supposed to happen. Felt a lot less stressful now that we don’t have to worry about someone taking our kids away again.”

The Cooks’ newest family members are aged 13, 11, 8, 5, 3 and 21 months.

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