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      Families welcome in new members, taking part in National Adoption Day

      At the Wapello County Courthouse Saturday, families new and old came together to celebrate National Adoption Day.

      "You know, I was a member of the foster care review board prior to being a lawmaker, and I saw a lot of these children, young children, and I know how important it is for them to have a stable home," said St. Rep. Mary Gaskill of Ottumwa.

      For Heidi and Nick Hughes, the thought of growing their family from five children to six is an honor for them.

      "The process, you interview and go before a board of people and it can be very stressful. Then you have to wait two weeks to find out, so there are a lot of things that come into play, but when you get the word that you were chosen, it is just such an overwhelming, exciting experience that I just can't put into words," Heidi Hughes said.

      A handful of families went before Judge Owens to officially adopt a new son or daughter, and kids who are getting a new brother or sister enjoy the experience just as much as their parents.

      "They see the impact it has on these children, even though you may have them a short time, you can make such a difference. You can instill a lot of things into them that they may never get anywhere else. You may be that one moment in their life to change them in a different direction and path that they were currently being taught," Hughes said.

      For the Hughes, it has been an emotional experience, but a rewarding one as well.

      "You have to look at these parents, they struggle, and like I have explained to my own kids, you know a lot of the kids in foster care they are in their because that is how their kids grew up and they really didn't know much different in the parenting experience, so they are doing the best they can," Hughes said.

      For more information on National Adoption Day, click here.