Students at an Alabama elementary school spent the last several weeks counting down the days until one of their classmates was officially adopted -- and the big day finally arrived this past Monday.
Twenty second-graders at Danville-Neel Elementary School in Danville, Alabama, joined 9-year-old Jasmine and her family at the Morgan County Courthouse in Decatur for a special field trip, nicknamed "Jasmine Day." It was coordinated with the help of Jasmine's teacher, principal, family and the Alabama Department of Human Resources -- all part of the "village" that Jasmine's mom Melanie Brown said surrounds and supports them.
"I am adopted myself and I remember schoolkids [being] mean -- 'Oh you're that unwanted little adopted kid.' And so, I just told my husband Anthony, I said, 'It would be so neat, since Jasmine has been in the same school with these kids -- kindergarten, first grade, second grade -- if they could come' and he said, 'Oh, yeah, that would be neat.' Well, I mentioned it to the teacher and she ran with it," Brown recalled to "Good Morning America."
With both the school and children on board, Brown decided to have custom T-shirts made for the occasion.
"Our shirt said 'We love our village.' Jasmine's shirt said 'I love my village' and then the classroom and everybody that came, like [Alabama Department of Human Resources] workers and the [Court Appointed Special Advocates] worker and everybody, their shirts said 'We are the village,'" Brown explained.
Jasmine's adoption day came nearly one year after she first arrived at the Brown home on Feb. 10, 2022 -- her seventh foster home.
Brown said it was an emotional day but one they had known was coming since last summer.
"She'd been in six homes and every home wanted Jasmine, but it didn't work out," Brown said. "And so I told my husband Anthony, I said, 'God didn't work it out for Jasmine to be adoptable when she was in that home or that home or that home.' I said, 'He worked it out when she was with us so even though this is not part of our plan, it is his plan.' And so we just had to say yes."
When the Browns asked Jasmine if she wanted to be adopted, her mom said they also received a quick answer from her.
"I asked her, 'Do you know what does adoption mean?' And she said, 'It means I would never have to leave this house,'" the 49-year-old recalled. "And so we knew … we wanted to make sure that she wanted us to adopt her."
The Browns are now parents of 12, including six kids they adopted and three foster children.
Both Brown and Jasmine's principal, Tara Morrow, told "GMA" Jasmine was "so excited" on her adoption day.
"She said it was just really good to have them there, to know how much she's loved," Brown said.
"It was a very special time. I think it was great for those kids to get to witness that and see how that works. You hear about adoption but if you've never been a part of one, you really don't know the legality part of it and how it all goes down. So I think that was a great experience for them to be able to be a part of that," Morrow added.