About 13 years ago Smith County began a commitment to adoption on a larger scale. The now twice-annual adoption days continue to grow each year finding forever families for dozens of children. The latest was the Summer Adoption Day at the Smith County Courthouse held in June.

The 321st District Courtroom was packed as 18 children waited patiently to be adopted by 10 families.

“The kids range in age from 6-months-old to 10-years-old. So we are really excited that they are getting adopted,” said Kristen Senkyr with Smith County Young Lawyers Association who volunteer to help with the adoption days.

One by one, the families went before presiding Judge Carole Clark. Those who work with Judge Clark say “this is more than just a job for her, but rather a mission and a calling, healing children and families from the inside out.”

One of the families adopting on this day was Jana Benedict, a single mom of two boys. She is also a foster mom, and on this day adopted three of her foster children.

“Our family is blessed by these three,” she said looking at her 3 new children.

The Benedict’s instantly doubled becoming a family of 6.

“I just love a house full of kids. The noise makes it a home. These three children were meant to be with us,” shared Jana.

And her two biological sons couldn’t be happier with their new siblings.

“It feels good. It feels right. We’re just helping more kids and they’ve been like my brother and sisters from the beginning. They are adorable and nice too,” said the oldest brother Trace.

The younger brother Trent added, “It feels awesome to have extra family members with me. They’re the best kids in the world!”

Jana believes becoming a forever family for children in need is a calling.

“I just think taking them in and giving them a chance and hope and a future is what God intended for our family to do.”

As Judge Clarke made the adoptions final, she sealed each with a kiss on the head of each child as family members snapped lots of pictures.

“It’s very gratifying to finally be done and the kids can go home and hug and their families tonight,” noted Senkyr.

One day in court, but a lifetime of happiness for these children who are now with their forever families.

For more on Summer Adoption Day in Smith County, join Gillian Sheridan for her Children are a Gift report, Tuesday night on CBS 19 News at 6. To inquire about an East Texas child waiting to be adopted call 903-655-6211 or email gsheridan@cbs19.tv.


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