New Thanksgiving memories for new adoptive parents - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

New Thanksgiving memories for new adoptive parents

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SUMTER, SC (WIS) -

This week many of us are finding reasons to be thankful. For many families in the state, this Thanksgiving will have new meaning for their new additions. November is National Adoption Month and parents were in Sumter to make it official on Monday.

"It gives you a purpose in life, it gives your life much more color, much more meaning," said Gordon Shephard, one of more than a dozen parents who came to the Sumter County Courthouse on a cold Monday morning to make it legal.

"It gives me the chance to be a father, and that's something that always been important to me," said Shephard.

For these families, it's been a process of months, if not years.

Linda Simmons adopted four children including a set of triplets. It took her three years before they could all stand before Judge McFaddin.

"A chance for everyone to come to family court and leave here happy as opposed to a normal family court day when everyone leaves disgusted, unhappy, and sad," said McFaddin.

"I believe that God has a hope and a future for both of our kids now, and he's certainly given them a home to make that path possible," said Jason Hoagland.

A path that was uncertain for many other children before.

"Most are in abusive relationships or homes. They're in situations where they're neglected and they're placed by DSS usually in foster homes where they're taken care of and it's not unusual for those parents to wish to adopt them," said McFaddin.

The Hoagland family says Adoption Day is about putting the pain of the past away and embracing a future of love.

There are children from infancy to teens who need a stable home. The Department of Social Services says 576 children are waiting right now to be adopted.

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