Family for Life: Building Families With Love

Family for Life: Building Families With Love

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In celebration of November being National Adoption Month, the Department of Social Services worked with family court judges all over the state to finalize as many adoptions as possible in one day.

A big task, but a labor of love that gives children who’ve been wondering and waiting the joy of having a real place to call home. At the Sumter County courthouse, it was a day full of winners where everyone with a case left the court pleased.

“As opposed to a normal day where somebody is always going to leave the courtroom mad about something or mad at me,” Judge George M. McFaddin, Jr said.

McFaddin described adoption day as one of his absolute best days.

"We had one little girl who came in with a tiara on her head, she said she was princess adoption today,” McFaddin said.

Another little girl clad in princess attire, four-year-old Annabelle, also captivated the court.

“It’s hard to put how happy we are into words, we’ve been waiting for his for so long,” Annabelle’s mother Mellisa Sutherland said.

Sutherland and her husband Anthony say they never planned to adopt. They started fostering simply because it was in their hearts to help children in need.

Anthony remembers when they met Annabelle, saying she was scared, nervous and extremely shy. Now, Annabelle is as vibrant as ever and she’s taken up the position of “daddy’s girl”.

“When the time came for her to come free, we could not let her go to anyone because she was already part of the family,” Anthony said.

For the Mackins Family, their journey was the complete opposite.

“We were strictly adoptions at first, but then God opened our hearts and told us we needed to foster for awhile,” Bethany Mackins said.

When she and her husband Arkivious got the call about Jordan in June, they agreed to meet him in July and he moved in two weeks later.

When asked what he loves about Jordan, Arkivious gives a very ‘proud daddy’ answer.

“Oh what’s not to love, he keeps you going, I’ll tell you that. He’s real smart, he teaches me a lot of things too.”

Six-year-old Jordan says this day is special to him simply because he’s happy.

That happiness was spread to another family as well.

The Floyds adopted after being foster parents 27 years. After two years of waiting, Benjamin Alvarez Barton has his family for life too.

For those who have thought about fostering or adopting but worry about heartbreak after becoming so attached, Mellisa Sutherland offers words of encouragement.

“I always tell them, that’s why you should do it, because these kids need someone to get attached to them, they need that...they need attachment, they need love, they need care.”

Adoption is a special gift that builds families and all it really takes is love.

There is no cost to adopt from foster care in South Carolina. You can view profiles of children in South Carolina waiting to be adopted by visiting the South Carolina Heart Gallery,

If you’d like to get more information about adopting or becoming a foster parent, you can reach an adoption specialist who would be happy to answer your questions by calling (888) 828-3555.

You can also find more information about children who are waiting to find their family for life by visiting: or

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