LOS ANGELES — Basketball is a favorite pastime of 16-year-old Angel Valadez, and it was a good way to let out some nervous energy on his adoption day, which coincided with National Adoption Day on Saturday.

Valadez’s grandparents, Elizabeth and John MacGregor, have been fostering Angel since he was 10. But now, following a virtual ceremony finalizing the adoption, they're officially his legal parents, and it's a big relief for everyone.

“This is so good because it's been a long time,” said Valadez after the virtual proceedings.

Valadez is one of more than 150 adoptions formalized virtually on National Adoption Day. For Valadez, who has been in and out of different homes for a good part of his life, it means a greater sense of stability and belonging that he needed.

“As a kid, I felt like I was in the middle,” Angel said. “I wanted to be with my mom, but also my grandma. I just didn't know who exactly to choose.”

Approximately half of all foster adoptions are relatives adopting kin. Elizabeth MacGregor admits the adoption process was long, complicated and sometimes frustrating, but that it has been worthwhile.

“We have more freedom to go to the trips. We don't have to ask for a permit for the court, or nothing,” Elizabeth said. “I'm excited because now we can go anywhere with him.”

The pandemic has made virtual proceedings like this necessary but the adoption finalization is cause for celebration, and John knows how much it means for Angel.

“Angel has always felt this was a safe haven,” he said. “He always felt his bedroom was his, and that was a safe haven.”

And now that the judge has announced that "Angel Valadez is declared to be the child of Elizabeth MacGregor and John Wayne McGregor," John and Elizabeth assume all the responsibilities of being Valadez's legal parents. 

“I'm like, wowed, yeah,” said Valadez after the event.

Currently, there is a shortage of adoptive homes for older children and teens, and Valadez wants people to know how important it is for older kids to have a place to feel safe, loved, and to flourish.

“It's good being here,” he said. “[Elizabeth and John] have full custody of me, and so I'm like their kid now.”

Valadez is keeping his last name, but as of now, he is officially part of the MacGregor family. After a lifetime of uncertainty, it's a good place to be.