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Valley family celebrating their newest family addition on National Adoption Day

When Jesus and Nicole Becerra first met Raya three years ago, they knew something was special about this little girl.

PHOENIX — A Valley family navigated the foster care system all in the hopes that this day would come.

A long wait made worthwhile

When Jesus and Nicole Becerra first met Raya three years ago, they knew something was special about this little girl. As foster parents and adoptive parents, they have navigated the system in the past.

This time though, the pandemic made the process feel so much longer and more difficult. 

“Just to know the wait is done and that it’s forever and we don’t have to wait any longer and she was finally able to wear her ‘forever dress’, that was a really big thing for her,” said Nicole Becerra, as she held Raya in her fancy white dress.

“It is granted. From here on out, you are her mom and dad, she is your daughter,” announced Judge Todd Lang. “Let’s celebrate that!”

And just like that, Raya has formally been welcomed into the Becerra family as one of their own.

So many kids looking for a place to call home

Nationally, roughly 120,000 children are waiting for their forever homes, just like Raya. 

National Adoption Day, observed on Saturday, Nov. 20 this year, is meant to put a spotlight on the need for good foster and adoptive parents.

“There are still kids out there that need to find homes, there are still kids out there that need to find foster parents and incredible parents like the Becerras, and that need continues,” said Judge Joseph Kreamer, the presiding juvenile judge for Maricopa County.

Getting involved

“I mean, fostering -- if you have any thought of going there -- do it,” said Nicole Becerra.

The Becerras have fostered and adopted throughout their 11-year marriage and said that they are better for it.

“I mean, there are so many children who don’t even have beds to sleep in,” said Nicole Becerra. “I think a lot of us take that for granted, what they are wishing for and hoping for every day. And, you know, there’s no perfect foster family. I mean, we are a typical family; we have our rough days just like everybody else. Single moms, single dads, married couples- there’s not really anything that defines what you are going to be. I say explore it; it’s an amazing experience and I think every child that has come into our home has touched our kids in a way that nothing else can.”

There are resources for those looking to become a foster family. The Arizona Department of Child Safety has the steps necessary to start the journey.

Inspiring Arizona