WEBSTER CITY - For Eric McGlynn, it was a humble aspiration three years ago that was rewarded with great love.
"Initially we got into foster care just to be a solution to a problem, rather than complaining about it," he said. "We had no intentions of adopting. It just became the right choice. I can't explain it. But it's been a very fulfilling experience."
McGlynn and his wife, Keri McGlynn, were among the families at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Webster City Saturday as part of National Adoption Day. The McGlynns expanded their family, adopting Tatiana, 2, and Corbin, 4.
It was a joyful day for the parents and their two other children, Jaeden, 11, and Malach, 9.
"It's very exciting," Eric McGlynn said. "It's kind of like Christmas, when you're a kid and you have all these emotions and you just can't sleep at night and you're waiting for Santa to come. That's what today's like for us."
Thirteen families adopted 22 children at the national event, the eighth for the Department of Human Services and Iowa KidsNet.
"It is a good number for today," Corinne Sills, Iowa KidsNet post-adoption support specialist, said. "Any number is a good number. "One child being adopted is good."
Including family and friends, more than 400 people celebrated the growth of their families at the courthouse Saturday.
Adoption into a family is the best thing for these children, Sills said.
"Those children that need to be adopted need 'forever families,' someone to be that parent to go to when they're sad or hurt, or maybe when they're older and want somewhere to go and call home," she said. "Then they have a mom and dad to go to."
Before adopting, prospective parents have to attend the Partnering for Safety and Permanence - Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting class, complete a background check and have their home evaluated, usually a half-year process, Sills said.
"It's about a six-month process, from the time they make that inquiry about becoming a foster family to the time they've gotten their license and children can start coming into their home," she said.
Despite the efforts of many families, there is still a great need for adoption in Iowa. According to the Iowa DHS, as of August, 765 Iowa children were legally eligible for adoption, meaning their parental rights had been terminated.
The average age of a child waiting to be adopted is 8 years old.
"We need more families," she said. "Anybody can be a foster parent, but we're really looking for those that are willing to help with the cultural boundaries and issues, and teens or sibling groups."
Sills said it was a great day Saturday.
"I enjoy watching the adoptions and seeing the families interact on their special day," she said, "and enjoy being together and becoming a family."
For more information about adopting or becoming a foster parent, visit www.iowakidsnet.com or call (800) 243-0756.