A judge in Jacksonville celebrates the holiday season each year by bringing families together through adoption.
Circuit Judge David Gooding held his 11th annual adoption celebration on Friday, The Florida Times-Union reported.
Gooding approved adoptions for nine families during the event.
Gooding said he loves being part of the annual celebration and hopes to encourage more people to become foster and adoptive parents.
The judge normally handles foster care, delinquents and adoption cases and figures he has approved about 30,000 adoptions over the years. He said adoptions can change can the future for the better.
“Is this amazing or what?” he said Friday, as he stepped down from the bench to hug an adoptive family and pose for photos with them.
“I am so privileged,” he said.
One of the adoptive families at the event was led by parents Jeannine and John Sales, who have six grown children and, as of Friday, five small adoptive children. Joining the family was 4-month-old Elijah. The Sales adopted Elijah to keep him with his older brother, Michah, who was adopted earlier.
Also Friday, Rebecca and Robbie Crosby adopted 17-year-old Agnes. Agnes had been with the Crosbys in foster care since April.
Agnes Crosby said she feels lucky and happy to now have the couple as her legal parents.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.