Fredericksburg teen celebrates 1st Thanksgiving with new family

FREDERICKSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A story of thanks is happening right now in Fredericksburg where a teenage girl finally has  a family to call her own.

They just adopted her and invited NBC12 in as they prepare for their first Thanksgiving dinner together.

"So this is how we make corn pudding," Stefanie Hughes starts to lay out the steps it takes to make a holiday meal.

Recipes being passed from mother to daughter is one of the many moments families cherish during the holidays.  But for 14-year-old Destiny Hughes, this was not always normal

"Sometimes we slept in a car and we didn't always have food," she says.  "Sometimes we wouldn't even eat or my mom would have to steal stuff to get us food."

Destiny is one of five children put up for adoption a few years ago.  Separated and placed in different homes it was a lot for an 11-year-old girl to go through.

"I was confused," she says.  "I was not happy at all, really angry at myself and everyone else."

As she got older, she worried that no one would adopt her.    Then through the Richmond based organization, Children's Home Society of Virginia , Destiny met Stefanie and Craig Hughes and their 4 biological children.  The Hughes were looking to adopt and saw a need for older children looking for a home.

"You have to look at it like this child has been given to you for a reason and there can't be a line where you're willing to give up," Stefanie says.

It's a mission that Craig knows personally, he bounced around foster homes for most of his life and was never officially adopted.

"I remember how I felt when I was sleeping in the car in the middle of winter time and I think a lot of the times the kids have experienced that the same type of thing," he said.  "So just to give them a place where they can feel safe and secure is why we really wanted to do this."

The Hughes' biological children were included in the decision to adopt Destiny and say they're happy for an older sister.

"She always lets us come into her room and we'll play games together," says 11-year-old Sharia Hughes.

And just like mixing different ingredients to make an entire meal, the Hughes family becomes an example that a combination of different people can make a loving family.

The Hughes are also foster a 16-year-old girl adding to this growing family.

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