Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lucky 13 Find New Families; Judge: 'I'm Blown Away by Greatness' of Adopting Parents

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lucky 13 Find New Families; Judge: 'I'm Blown Away by Greatness' of Adopting Parents

Article excerpt

Byline: Saphara Harrell

Soon-to-be families crowded into Courtroom 204 at the Duval County Courthouse on Friday to adopt children just two days before Mother's Day.

Circuit Judge David Gooding presided over the ceremony, saying he's done around 2,500 to 3,000 adoptions over the years and can add 13 more adoptions to that tally after Friday's event.

He said the event recognizes the families who open their homes and hearts to children at a time when they need it. "I'm blown away by the greatness of our adopted families," Gooding said.

Selenia Robinson adopted 18-month-old La'dre and 6-month-old Melena. She said the first time she adopted she wasn't sure if she could have kids, but she ended up getting pregnant during the adoption.

She got six of her children when her brother's girlfriend needed someone to take care of them. She said she fell in love with them and adopted the whole bunch.

After Friday, her family now totals 13 children.

"It's not the size of the home, it's the size of the heart," Gooding said as the family stood before him, Melena dozing off in her purple dress and matching headband.

Robinson said her kids need to know that someone's always going to be there for them. "They need love. They need to know that they don't have to be placed somewhere else, I'm never leaving," she said.

She said if someone's thinking about adopting they need to understand that it's hard work and being a single mom means she has to work 13 times harder.

"It comes in a pretty package, but when you open it up it comes with other things: responsibility, loving," Robinson said. "You can't give up on them."

Robinson said routine is key, because one monkey wrench in that schedule will throw the whole day off.

Charity Landry echoed that statement, saying organization is crucial to managing all the kids. …

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