TAMPA - As you can tell from the teddy bears, the laughs, and the kid crawling around on the attorney table, this is not your typical day in court.
"It's just overwhelming! It's so exciting," says Alan Denote to ABC Action News.
Denote is now, officially, the father of a 3-year-old boy named Anthony, and it means that Denote and his husband Michael Macrionese are now the fathers of three adopted boys.
"I wish I could do more," says Denote, a Tampa-area real estate agent. "I guess I'll have to think of something else I can do to be part of these kids' lives that need a loving home."
His boy Anthony is one of 22 foster kids officially joining a new family as part of Hillsborough County's role in National Adoption Day.
"It's [about] knowing she's going to be safe and she has somewhere to be," says Natasha Suber, who adopted her niece Imani this morning at the Hillsborough County Circuit Courthouse.
Suber says Imani's mom isn't able to care for her, and with the help of the Florida-based non-profit agency Eckerd Connects, she was able to adopt her sister's daughter after doing a lot of paperwork and court hearings.
"She's very outgoing," says Suber of Imani as the 6-year-old first-grader hops around the courthouse Thursday morning. "She's just a loving child."
Adoption case hearings are normally closed to the public, but Denote, Suber and the other families agreed to share their stories in hopes of inspiring others to also adopt, if you can.
You can go to Eckerd.org to learn more about their program.
Eckerd Connects is inviting the public to their foster and adoption orientation on Jan. 8, 2018 for Hillsborough County families to learn more about their programs.