Dozens adopted before Mother's Day

By Crystal Moyer, Morning assignment desk, backup traffic reporter, cmoyer@wjxt.com
Ashley Mitchem, Morning traffic, news reporter, amitchem@wjxt.com
Published On: May 09 2014 05:21:45 AM EDT
Updated On: May 09 2014 06:03:59 PM EDT

VIDEO: It's a happy day for 17 local families who adopted children just in time for Mother's Day.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

It's a happy day for 17 local families who adopted children just in time for Mother's Day. Twenty-four children got a new home Friday morning.

One of those 24 children is Antonio Gale. His mom was his foster parent when he was a baby. He then went to live with his grandma in Georgia. She passed away, and now that foster mom got the chance to adopt him as her own.

“When I picked him up, he was so undernourished he could hardly hold his head up, but he gave me that beautiful smile and I fell in love with him from that day onward,” said Althea Gale.

Gale picked up Antonio from the hospital when he was just 3 months old and she knew it was love. She was his foster parent for nearly a year until he was sent to Georgia to be with his grandmother.

“When he left me, it was, 'Oh my God.' It was so hard for me to deal with it,” Gale said.

Antonio's grandmother died not long after, but that meant the 2-year-old was coming back to Gale.

“His grandmother always told me if anything happened to her, she wanted me to have him back,” Gale said.

The day she'd been waiting for finally arrived Friday.

Antonio is one of 24 children ranging in age from 7 months to 17 years old who were adopted just in time for Mother's Day.

Felecia Gardner and her husband adopted 17-year-old Chrystal Gardner.

"Every child deserves a home, regardless of their age," Felecia said. "It's not their fault when they came into the system."

Chrystal couldn't be happier.

"It's actually really exciting to find someone who wants to be a part of my life and help me do things that even I thought was unimaginable," she said. "And honestly, I don't know what I would do without them right now."

Meanwhile, Gale has two other children, a daughter and son in their 20s, and she said having all three of her kids with her this Mother's Day will make the holiday complete.

“I feel so excited. This is my best Mother’s Day gift anyone could ever think of, having this wonderful son of mine,” Gale said.

Antonio's new mother also wants to remind about the importance of adoption. If you're interested in learning more about adopting or becoming a foster parent, visit www.fssjax.org.

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