BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - 2-year-old Joshua was all smiles Wednesday afternoon, running up and down the hallways, playing with his grandparents and now forever with his new mom and dad.
"I am ordering, drum roll," said Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin during the ceremony, "that you are now adopted."
Jacob and Jill Dennis have taken care of Joshua since he was three weeks old. When his biological parents surrendered a year ago, the adoption process began.
"They knew they weren't going to be able to handle him," said Jacob Dennis, Joshua's father. "So with him being my nephew me and my wife decided we could do it."
Keeping Josh in the family may also be beneficial as he gets older. He has a developmental disability and is required to see a number of therapists and doctors.
"Knowing the birth parents really helps," said Jill Dennis, Joshua's mother. "We talk to the mom a lot still and his brother is the father so if we have any questions we can get them done quickly and easily."
In his short life, Josh has brought inspiration to so many from his new parents to the caseworkers at Gateway-Longview.
"in spite of adversity you still have joy, happiness a great life and josh demonstrates that in everything that he does," said Melisha Joseph, a caseplanner at Gateway-Longview.
"He's fun, loud but full of love," said Jacob Dennis. "I mean he's a great kid and you couldn't have asked for someone better."
"I can't imagine life without him these days," replied Jill Dennis. "He just makes everything so happy. He's a happy go-lucky guy."
This adoption comes just a few days ahead of national adoption day which is Saturday November 17.
Currently, across the United States, there are more than 400,000 children in foster care, with approximately 23,000 children in foster care in New York State, and close to 900 children in foster care in Erie County.
Gateway-Longview is a not-for-profit child and family service agency that has been providing care, counseling, and support to countless children and families since 1890. It currently serves approximately 4,200 children from across Western and Central New York every day through its 16 separate support programs.