(KXXV) — Dozens of families gathered in Bell County to learn more about foster care and adoption. One couple from Whitney shared their journey to become adoptive parents.
Justin and Amanda Florence could be looking at the child they will end up adopting as they look at the pictures and a book of children ready to adopt in Central Texas.
"Our hard part was where do you begin?" said Amanda.
They attended a Bell County adoption event hosted by the Adoption Collaborative of Central Texas at Crossroads Church in Belton this week to get one step closer to becoming a forever family.
"We thought this is where God lead us to grow our family this way," said Amanda.
The Florence family lives in Whitney where the need is great for foster homes. They became licensed by the state last June and fostered two children who eventually returned to their biological family. Now their hearts are open for what's next.
"It's hard but it's worth it. It's a lot of prayer. A lot of heartache but the rewards of seeing the kids grow is awesome. It's tough. It's challenging but the blessings in the end make it the best," said Amanda.
The Department of Children and Families says events like this are crucial to connecting kids with loving parents.
"That desire to be there for a child is what's most important," said CPS Program Director Andrea Barnett.
Barnett supervises three units of CPS adoption staff in Central Texas that work to find adoptive families. Events like this happen in Central Texas about three times a year and help families become licensed and start the process.
"Someone who cares. Someone who can give unconditional love. Someone who wants to provide either a temporary or a permanent placement for a child," said Barnett.
The Florence family answered the call for someone who cares.
"I would definitely say open your heart because in the end the reward is worth it. It's worth it," said Amanda and Justin.
"Forever Families" airs every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on Central Texas News Now.