Dora Starling is the only mother Arianna, 22 months, has ever known.
The now bubbly toddler was 10 days old when the sheriff’s office placed the infant into the arms of Dora, a long-time foster parent with Eckerd Connects.
Less than two years later, all the late-night feedings and first wobbly steps led the pair to a Pinellas County, Florida courtroom on one of the happiest holidays of the year – National Adoption Day.
“Dora has cared for a lot of kids,” said Eckerd Connects Licensing Supervisor Katie MacElroy. “She’s been an amazing and dedicated parent with each and every one. But you can tell when something fits just right. This is the perfect match for Arianna. We couldn’t be more pleased for this family.”
Sitting with husband James Lintz and Dora’s three adoptive children and one foster child, the blended family was eager to celebrate National Adoption Day the best way imaginable: by legally growing their already beautiful family.
“Are you prepared to provide for this child?” the judge asked both Dora and James.
“She can have it all,” said James, as the bailiff handed him a tissue.
Dressed in her finest white dress and ribbons, little Arianna played with her siblings as her parents pledged to love and provide for her indefinitely. The little girl, whose favorite words are “Mama” and “Dada,” was all smiles. All giggles.
“It was so worth it,” said Dora following the judge’s final approval. “Arianna is worth it. We love that little girl so, so much. Today is the happiest day of our lives.”