Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

November 22, 2013

Adoption event unites families, children

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — The families came from all over Texas Friday to Corsicana to enlarge their families — sometimes quite a bit.

The National Adoption Day in Navarro County united five families with 14 kids in a massive adoption ceremony in District Court.

“You are the reason we are together,” said Judge James Lagomarsino, speaking to the assembled children. “There is no other reason.”

For Jeff and Christi Sowell of Whitehouse in East Texas, adopting the four little girls whose ages range from 4 to 10 was a chance to share their blessings and get the big family they always wanted.

“We just feel like God called us to do this,” Christi said. “There are way too many kids out there needing homes, and we have lots of love to give.”

The Sowells already have a 12-year-old biological son, and they talked about continuing to have children, but decided adoption was the right route for everyone.

“And we couldn’t have asked for better kids,” Jeff said, hugging one of his daughters. “It’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”

Sowell said the process was also very smooth and easy. They were well-prepared for each step, and it was painless, he said.

Although the Sowells didn’t know their children a year ago, some of the adoptions were more familiar.

Donie Villatoro and her husband, José, adopted their niece and nephew.

“They’re just a part of us,” Donie explained. “We couldn’t let them go anywhere else.”

The Villatoros didn’t have any children before, but they have provided off-and-on shelter and love to the kids since they were born. It took two years for them to be able to formalize the adoption.

“It’s been a long process. It’s been a learning experience,” Donie said. “But we’re excited. They make it worth it. They keep us laughing.”

Like the Villatoros, Cassandra and Patrick Brown adopted the children of family members. The two girls and a boy are the children of Cassandra’s adult son. They also have a 13-year-old daughter.

“I love my son. I love my grandchildren,” Cassandra said. “I knew that’s what God wanted me to do.”

Patrick always wanted more children, and this was their chance to have more without the pain of pregnancy, Cassandra joked.

For Scott and Christine Stevens of Austin, who adopted four children Friday, now have eight children of their own. Scott has three grown children — two in college and one at home — and now they have four young ones.

“There’s just something in our hearts,” Scott said. “You’re compelled when you hear these stories.”

The legal duties were shared between District Judge Lagomarsino, and County Court at Law Judge Amanda Putman.

The event was sponsored by the Navarro County Bar Association, which paid for decorations and gifts, as well as a cupcake and snack-laden reception afterwards.


Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: