Stephanie Scott walked across the street to the Smith County Courthouse in the scorching heat Friday to adopt the two young boys who have lived with her family for the past six months.
Mrs. Scott, a 32-year-old stay-at-home mom, remarked about the struggles her two sons went through in their previous home and how the youngsters have changed for the better since coming to live with her and her husband, Paul, who is 38.
“They had been through every kind of horror,” she said of Noah, 11, and his brother Dakota, 12.
She said she never thought twice about her decision to bring the children to live in their home.
The family lives in Tyler, and Mrs. Scott said she and her husband tried for years to have a biological child before they decided to adopt.
The Scotts were one of eight families adopting 17 children on Friday at the Smith County Adoption day. The children adopted ranged in age from 1 to 16, said Mandy Bryan, who works for Child Protective Services in Smith County.
“We started having the Adoption Days twice a year, one in June and one November, because there were so many kids to be adopted,” Smith County Judge Carole Clark of the 321st District Court said.
She told the crowd of families, friends and well-wishers at a reception prior to the proceedings that, “Adoption Days are such blessings – they are the most fun I have all year.”
For Donna Burk, 45, also a stay-at-home mom and her husband, Wesley Burk, 46, it was a horrible motorcycle accident that almost cost Burk his leg that led to the adoption of 4-year-old daughter Danica on Friday. When her husband’s leg healed and his recovery was complete, Mrs. Burk had an idea.
“I said ‘I’ll take one special needs child as a way to give back,’” she said.
Young Danica, who had been born to a drug-addicted mother and has one side of her face paralyzed, sat happily in the lap of her dad, toying with strawberries on her plate. The child eats through a special tube and is deaf, partly due to the drug abuse of the biological mother, Mrs. Burk said. Danica also wears a special tube to help her breathe. Mrs. Burk said the child could eventually lose the breathing and feeding tubes.
“She’s the biggest fighting kid you’ve ever seen,” Mrs. Burk said of her new daughter, who almost died twice. She and her husband are now fostering five other special needs children, but she says they have no other plans to adopt. The Forney couple has two biological children who are both grown.
“She’s the biggest blessing — we can’t imagine life without her,” Mrs. Burk said.