TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Thirteen children now have a permanent place to call home after Thursday morning's finalization ceremony.
Parents and their adoptive children arrived at the Leon County Courthouse to have their adoptions completed after months, and even years, of working to be matched with the perfect family.
There were plenty of happy tears and excited children as the judge declared their adoptions final.
"All the kids are happy, especially with the teenager. Like he mentioned in court that he was in the system for six years and today he actually got that family that he's been waiting for," says Whitney Harrell, a post-adoption specialist:
For the parents and children, this is the start of a new beginning with a family full of love and laughter.
"It's amazing that I have a family that I can fall back on," says Christian Riess, the adoptive son of Melinda and Michael Riess. "He says 'no,' she says, 'yes,' and she wins all the time...no matter what he says. It's a very funny family"
Although Christian and a dozen other children found a forever family, there are still a large need for foster and adoptive parents in the Big Bend.