NWF Health Network hosts emotional Christmas adoption ceremonies
Judge Russell Roberts presides over Christmas adoptions.

Six children officially found their forever families.

NWF Health Network hosted its annual Christmas adoption ceremonies Christmas morning. Six children, including two sets of siblings, officially found their forever homes.

The Christmas ceremonies follow others on Dec. 23 and Christmas Eve in Tallahassee and Pensacola. In all, 19 children were adopted in the ceremonies.

Judge Russell Roberts of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit, dressed in a festive light-up Christmas jacket, presided over the Christmas Day adoptions in ceremonies that brought tears to participants and onlookers alike. Roberts presented each family with a snowflake ornament with a handwritten message from him to place on their Christmas tree.

“Knowing that these children officially have what we call ‘forever homes’ is one of the greatest joys in our line of work,” said NWF Health Network CEO Mike Watkins. “There is no better gift on Christmas than the gift of a family.  We are so grateful for the families who stepped up when needed and are adopting these children.”

NWF Health Network is the only organization in the nation to conduct annual Christmas adoptions, ensuring families in its care have an even more special holiday each year. This is the sixth year NWF Health has conducted its annual Christmas adoption ceremonies.

Two-year-old Ter’Riyah was adopted by a non-relative who previously adopted her half-sister. She has grown up with relationships with her biological siblings and other biological relatives because of the dedication of her adoptive mother, Valerie. Ter’Riyah was adopted the day after her second birthday.

Four-year-old Bryson and five-year-old Brody, brothers, were adopted by a non-relative who has cared for them for more than 3 years — most of the boys’ lives.

David, Silas and Rodney, three young brothers, were adopted by their grandparents. All three boys have special needs and they have spent most of their lives in their grandparents’ care.  

The Christmas Day ceremonies were held at NWF Health Network’s Bay County Human Services Center at 910 Harrison Avenue in Panama City.  

Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris attended the Christmas Day ceremonies in Panama City.

“I was so honored to be able to attend the adoption ceremony (Christmas) morning with the Francis family,” Harris said. “Seeing those two beautiful children find their forever families is something I will remember forever. Thank you to all the individuals/organizations along the way who helped make this happen during this very special time of the year!”

Judge Anthony Miller of the Second Judicial Circuit presided over two adoptions in Tallahassee on Dec. 23. Ten children, including three sibling pairs, were adopted on Christmas Eve in Pensacola.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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