YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An Ohio-based foundation recently hit 10,000 adoptions from foster care, and 1,200 of those are in the Buckeye State.

Those adoptions are still happening during the pandemic and right here in the Valley.

The Clemons family in Youngstown remembers the adoption of their two teen boys, vividly, as a parade of cars last April lined up to help them celebrate.

“It was the whole train, the whole office, our parents, and it made us cry,” Shay Clemons said. “We were supposed to adopt them in 2019, but it was a lot of stuff going on then the pandemic hit. They were waiting and praying because they had been in the system so long.”

Their story is one of many like it through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. President and CEO Rita Soronen said the virtual meetups with kids actually helped recruiters get them out of foster care.

“They’re seeing their kids sometimes more often. It’s easier to connect this way than hop in their car to drive an hour to see a child,” she said. “What we found is even during the pandemic, our adoption numbers were the same as the year before.”

The foundation finalized more than 1,000 adoptions in 2020, a year when some kids needed it more than most.

“The pandemic took a toll on everyone, but just think about these kids, what they’ve been going through, that’s a pandemic all on its own with the stuff they had to go through. There’s nothing wrong with giving someone a chance,” Ray Clemons said.

It’s a chance the Clemons family knows can be so worth it.

Find out more on how you can help kids who need a family or assist financially at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.