By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4) – Five families who have adopted children from Colorado’s foster care system were honored at a special luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion Saturday.

“Even before I got married I knew I wanted to adopt,” said Rex who lives in Denver.

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(credit: CBS)

Rex married Lisa later in life. After they were blessed with a daughter, they decided to enter the foster-to-adopt journey.

“It’s all about taking that leap of faith and following your heart,” said Rex.

“They’re just beautiful spirits, and I would really want and believe that they would have the same heart to be able to give back and to have that compassion and that greater love for everyone,” said Lisa.

The adoption of their son completed their forever family.

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“He and his sister are best friends, and yes they still fight over everything down to dirt, but they are the best of friends,” she said.

For John and Daesha Willingham, the journey is ongoing.

“We just felt this need to provide a home for kids that were right there in our own back yard,” said Daesha.

“I’m just a normal guy trying to do what I’ve been called to do. God tells us to take care of the orphans and widows,” said John.

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So they adopted their now 17-year-old son when he was 14 years old. A year later they had a baby of their own, all while continuing to foster teenage boys.

They are currently in the process of adopting one of those teenagers.

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“We just remind each other and our kids that we love no matter what because that’s how God loves us,” said Daesha.

“It’s a little back and forth that we do… ‘I love you no matter what’ and then the other person says ‘No matter what I love you,'” explained John.

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Family foundations built on unconditional love.

According to the Colorado Department of Human Services in 2017, 909 Colorado children in foster care were adopted, 290 are still waiting.

They say anywhere between 10 and 20 kids turn 18 and age out of the system each month.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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