JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Several Duval County families are welcoming new family members into their homes after a Mother’s Day adoption ceremony at the courthouse.
There are children of all ages and backgrounds in the foster care system, but the hardest group to place are older kids. Family Support Services of North Florida makes sure siblings stay together.
For Amy Standard, this Mother’s Day is special. It’s her first one as a mom, and she’ll be spending it with the children she and her husband Christopher adopted Friday: 14-year-old Carmen and 11-year-old Aiden.
“I highly recommend anybody adopting older,” Amy said. “I promised I wasn’t going to cry, but yes, it’s the best feeling ever.”
The siblings spent more than 1,500 days in foster care, hoping for the right match. Last October, the four felt an “instant connection” and never looked back.
“Ever since they moved in we’ve had to learn a lot because as you see we have teenagers, so going from zero kids to teenagers, it’s definitely been a shock, but it’s been a wonderful experience, and I would not trade it for anything," said Christopher Standard.
Judge Michael Kalil presided over the adoption.
He said this is one of those rare days when something good happens in the courtroom.
“A lot of these children, unfortunately came from an experience of being abused and neglected and abandoned in times past, and so knowing that we can then bring that full circle now to be able to have an event where they now have a stable family. It’s wonderful. It really is," Kalil explained.
Because Amy and Christopher Standard couldn’t have children, the new family said Carmen and Aiden are a dream come true.
“It’s just an incredible feeling to know that I’m going to be loved by them,” Amy Standard said. “And I’m going to give that same back to them. I’m just excited to be a mom. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.”
If you'd like more information about fostering and adopting a child, visit the Family Support Services of North Florida website.