Elmira, NY (WENY) -- The Chemung county social services department on Friday celebrated national adoption awareness month. They honored those parents who gave a child their forever home.

There are hundreds of thousands of kids currently in foster care across the country. Over 100,000 are waiting to be adopted and for their forever home. But for some of the families that went to the community kitchen in Elmira, they've changed a kids life forever.

The Chemung county social services department had a party. The celebration was in honor national adoption awareness month. Karen Fitzpatrick with the children and family services of the department of social services said events like these are critical in both shedding light on the benefits of adoption and raising awareness on some of the stark statistics.
“It's really important to recognize our adopted because they're the ones taking care of these kids and providing them with the love and care that they need.” said Fitzpatrick.

Both Kitty Ravert and Wyatt Harris spoke about their experiences as part of the celebration. Each new family was also given a ceremonial gift bag with a blanket and some books meant to symbolize comfort. For Harris national adoption day and national adoption month hold a special place in hist heart.

“Family's that are fostering kids I hope that they can take the next step and adopt a foster kid.” said Harris.

According to statistics from the DSS more than 442,995 children are in foster care in the United States and over 123,000 are awaiting adoption. Friday was a chance to honor those parent's who've made the choice to adopt.

“All of our family’s have fostered with children that they've adopted so they're in foster care and they foster them as foster parents so they've had them usually about a year.” said Fitzpatrick

In her speech Fitzpatrick said 7 adoptions have been done so far this year and they're optimistic that 4 more expected to be finished by the end of the year but Harris says hopefully that number will go up.

Harris said he was hesitant six year ago, when him and his brother were going through the adoption process, even getting mad at the attorney. But he also said it has been the best thing for them. Ravert in her speech echoed that sentiment.

“I'm actually an adult adopter. Many many years ago I benefited from this valuable event where i was able to find my family.” said Ravert.

And when asked what Harris hopes parents will take away from the ceremony?

“If you adopt a kid you can actually raise it how you would raise it.” said Harris.

This comes as Harris has found his forever home, however there are still thousands of kids who haven. Many of the across the nation in foster care have been waiting years to join a permanent family.