As of January, there were 3,600 children waiting to be adopted in Texas, that's according to AdoptUSkids.org.
On National Adoption Day, three Central Texas families are sharing how their lives were changed forever through adoption.
Kendall Goodwin and her husband always dreamed of having a big family, even after hitting a few bumps in the road. For years, the pair struggled with infertility. This led them to pursue fostering with plans to adopt the children who were placed with them.
"They just need a chance and they just need someone to give them an opportunity, whether that's for a few days to forever," said Goodwin.
In 2015, their prayers were finally answered. Five children, ages one through five, now fill their home with laughter and their hearts with love.
"We went from a family of two, my husband and I, to five and then very quickly again after that to seven," said Goodwin. "They're our kids in every sense of the way, just as if they were born to us."
A similar path led Jill VanZee to adoption. She and her husband were there for the birth of their two girls, Breeley and Raelynn.
"We love our girls, just like anybody would love their biological children, we know nothing different," said VanZee.
Now 15 and nine, VanZee has watched her children grow a lot over the years. Breeley and Raelynn are dedicated athletes, fierce hunters and loving sisters.
"They are yours and you embrace them as nothing different then your children," said VanZee. "God's just blessed you in a different manner with how they enter your family."
Brittany Youngblood's gift came from a family friend.
"You can't not love Hazel," said Youngblood. "Long awaited love for this little tiny person that has changed so many lives."
After two miscarriages, Youngblood was losing hope, until a call came in from Alabama about a little girl who needed a home.
"She knows that Mama Tiffany grew her in her tummy because Mommy couldn't grow babies in her tummy," said Youngblood. "Then Mama Tiffany decided that Mommy and Daddy would be Hazel's mommy and daddy and that she is extra special because she has all the extra love now."
Youngblood is embracing the idea of a modern family by having a relationship with Hazel's birth mother.
"It's just one big, huge happy family," said Youngblood. "I'd do it ten times over, a million times."
Proving that the road less traveled, can often lead to the most beautiful discoveries.
"This is what our life is supposed to be and it's just really, really incredible to get to have experienced this and the whole journey," said Goodwin. "Even the bad parts are so worth it, to have them."
Goodwin and Youngblood both belong to the Waco Adoption Support Group. This group meets monthly, allowing local families to connect with one another share their experiences with adoption.
For more information on the Waco Adoption Support Group, click here:
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