Courtroom filled with smiles during Collier County mass adoption event

What started off as a bleak day in Southwest Florida, ended with smiles lighting up a courtroom.

“We have the honor and privilege of celebrating the adoption of eleven children in Collier County,” said CEO of the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida Nadereh Salim.

As part of National Adoption Awareness Month, we got an inside look at adoption finalization hearings at the Collier County courthouse.

“To see the extraordinary power of love and the incomparable gift of a forever family,” said Judge Christine Greider.

A forever family like the Hissoms.

“We heard about the number of teenagers that age out of care and that the odds of things going well for them after that were kind of low,” said Jennie Hissom.

Teens Zachary and Shawna now have a bigger family with Jennie and her husband Phil Hissom as their new adoptive parents and with biological relatives who showed their support.

“We were lucky and found a family that was willing to be communicative with our family and talk to them,” said Zachary.

“They wanted to feel secure that they’d be able to maintain those connections if they joined a new family too,” said Jennie.

In the season of gratitude, these new families can agree there’s much to be thankful for.

As a part of National Adoption Awareness Month, there will also be mass adoption hearings in Lee and Charlotte counties later this month.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Briana Harvath
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