ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — November is “Adoption Awareness Month,” and Saturday marked the 18th Annual “National Adoption Day Celebration.”

Families gathered at the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center as 23 children got their adoptions finalized.

“I have waited four years for my little girl, and today was our day,” said adoptive parent Chris Lannon.

Lannon said that Miracle is the 7th adopted child added to the Lannon family, making her the mother of 10 children. She said that she is so happy the day finally came, and it was worth the wait.

“She has been ours since day one,” Lannon said. “Last week I’ve been nervous, I’ve been excited because it has taken so long, but right now I’m just relieved and glad we finally did it and she’s ours.”

Noelle Schamberger, foster care program manager at Children’s Home & Aid, said that 421 children have been adopted into permanent, loving families in Winnebago County over the past 18 years, celebrating National Adoption Day.

“Today is important because these kids weren’t able to have to opportunity to be able to go home, but they are getting a forever home,” Schamberger said.

Lannon said that each child is different and needs to feel safe. All 23 children on Saturday now have a family they can count on and give them what they need.

She hopes that others are inspired to adopt as well.

“I hope people do get inspired by it and see that it is rewarding,” Lannon said. “Tt’s very rewarding, and I hope they look at that part of it, you know?”