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Twenty East Tennessee kids adopted into permanent families

At adoption day in Blount County, 20 kids ages 17 and younger left the foster care system and went home to their new parents.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — In a gymnasium in Maryville full of balloons and distinguished guests including Spider-Man, Batman and Santa Claus, nothing made the kids in the room happier than the adults they were leaving with.

"It's my pleasure to grant the adoption and vest with you the rights, responsibility and the privilege as if you were the natural parents," said Blount County Circuit Judge Tammy Harrington.

"I'm really excited," said 14-year-old Shade. "They're really nice to me, yeah I'm like super excited."

Shade and his brother Zackeria, 11, got a new last name on Tuesday.

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After 811 days, their foster parents officially adopted them.

"Yesterday all day long it was, 'mom we can't believe it's here!'" said Mitzi Click.

David and Mitzi Click have their own children and grandchildren, but they knew there were others kids out there who they could help.

"[Zackeria] asked me you know, 'how long is it gonna be before you know you call them and say you don't want us anymore?'" said Mitzi. "I said 'I'm not the parent that leaves.'"

According to Tennessee Alliance for Kids, 7,962 children are in foster care across the state.

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The Tennessee Department of Children's Services said more than 800 of those kids are in the Smoky Mountain Region, which includes Blount, Sevier, Cocke, Jefferson, Hamblen, Claiborne and Grainger Counties.

DCS said more than 200 of those kids are in Blount County.

On Tuesday, 20 of those Smoky Mountain kids stopped being a statistic.

"It's gonna pull a lot of stress off of us because we've been waiting on this day for quite a long time and we won't have to move out of foster homes anymore," said Shade.

Fostering and adopting isn't easy. But for the Click family, it's worth it.

"I just want to say I love them and I'll be here for them all that they need," said Zackeria.

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"Because these kids, they need it," said Mitzi. "They need somebody to love them. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to love them."

DCS is always looking for more foster families.

Thousand more kids are in the foster system than are foster parents.

If you're interested in helping out these kids by becoming a foster family, apply through the DCS website.