“Home for the holidays” took on a whole new meaning Wednesday when 14 bay area kids were adopted into 11 families at an emotional Hillsborough County Courthouse.
It was part of the Eckerd Connects adoption and foster program.
“It’s been the best Christmas ever,” says Rosa Diaz, who officially became the mother of 18-month-old Emma Victoria Diaz.
The ceremony went quick; Emma even got to wear Judge Jack Espinosa’s robe. The judge made time in his schedule to officiate the adoptions before the end of the year.
But for Diaz, and many “new” families on this special day, the journey to this magic moment took much longer.
“Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with infertility,” says Rosa. “That’s when I decided to foster, without any intention of adoption.”
The Lakeland teacher fostered 17 children before she adopted her first child: Emma’s brother Michael.
She wanted to adopt his sister Emma as well, but that would take time (about a year) and strength (Emma was born premature, at just 5 months).
But with the help of her family and Eckerd Connects, Diaz nurtured Emma, teaching her how to crawl and how to eat.
Emma wasn’t feeling too great on her big day; she’s fighting bronchitis. But her overall health is otherwise improving.
And in her new mom’s eyes, she’s perfect.
“I’m very proud of you,” Rosa Diaz told her new daughter. “I’m just very happy to have you.”