OLATHE, Kan. -- The Saturday before Thanksgiving means one thing to thousands of families across America. Its National Adoption Day.
In Kansas alone, there are more than 900 children awaiting adoption.
Tears flowed freely in courtrooms at the Johnson County Courthouse as 22 children found forever homes. Two little girls perched waiting on their future parents laps. Precious. Precocious. And not at all aware of the gravity of the moment.
It's OK because their adoptive family has counted the days for them. One thousand fifty-seven to be exact. That's how long their lives have been in limbo since a family tragedy inserted the girls into the Leseberg family.
“One day, we were asked to babysit, and they never left our house. Its been three years and a lot of heart ache," Adoptive mother Becky Leseberg said.
Teary-eyed friends and family crowded the room with congratulatory signs and gifts. The moment was enough to bring even the judge to tears.
“One thousand fifty-seven days. It ends today. They have their forever homes," Johnson County District Judge Kathleen Sloan said.
The girls now have four much older and very protective brothers, ranging in age from 18 to 24.
"We have to keep them in our hearts and be there to be there for them when they grow up," Big brother Jacob Leseberg said.
As Lily practiced saying her new last name, "Leseberg, Leseberg," she calls the woman holding her by the name she's earned the hard way. Mommy.
“We love them so much," Becky Leseberg. "They are happy and sweet little angels that were given to us. That is what we tell them, that God gave them to us."
Noah, another one of the brothers, agreed.
“Its crazy. It has been a long journey, and I’m glad its over and we finally have them."
Candy, stuffed animals and long hugs celebrate the end of a difficult journey and the start of a new adventure.
However, some children are not as lucky and are still searching for their forever homes. You can find children in your area, here.