LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - November is National Adoption Month. And to celebrate, six Lucas County children will officially become a part of their "forever family" in a public ceremony on November 6.
One of those forever families is the Walters, who are adopting their three-year-old foster daughter, Karina.
It's not hard to see how Karina stole her adoptive parents' hearts. Her bubbling personality and big smile will charm you the minute you meet her.
"Since I was a little girl the only think I've ever wanted was to be a mom," said her adoptive mother, Jessica Walters.
She and her husband Tony decided to foster after they had trouble having their own children.
The Walters got the call for her placement just a couple of hours after they completed their foster parent training. They said they were ready, but nervous.
Being Karina's mom hasn't always been an easy road. She has some special needs and they needed a lot of patience.
At first, her adoptive dad said fostering felt more like being her babysitter, than a parent.
"As it went on went on we felt more of a parental role and a relationship of father and daughter," Tony said.
When she came into their home at two-years-old, Karina could not talk and she had trouble controlling her emotions. They admit that at first, it was challenging.
"But it's worth it," Jessica said. "When you get to see the leaps and bounds that your child progresses. It is absolutely worth it."
Now Karina is attending preschool and thriving in her new family. They've even started fostering a younger brother they plan to adopt.
The process of waiting to see if they could adopt her was an emotional one, at times not knowing if Karina might go back to her family of origin. Now, they are thrilled the day has finally come to make it official.
"We are just so incredibly excited to finally say this is my daughter. This is really my daughter," Jessica said with a smile on her face. "And that she's staying here. And that she is forever a part of our family."
"It'll just be her own day," said Tony.
He said their friends and family will be there with them in the courtroom next week to celebrate on adoption day. A day they feel was meant to be.
"We feel that she was meant to be part of our family, we were meant to be her parents," said Jessica. "And I couldn't love that kid anymore if I tried."
There are 367 children in need of a foster home and 67 are in need of adoption right now in Lucas County.
Anyone interested in helping change a child's life can find more information here.