Today I had the chance to go to Adoption Day at the Fort Worth courthouse. It was so exciting, heartwarming and emotional. In Texas, once a prospective adoptive family has been approved to adopt and has taken placement of a baby (after the birthmother relinquishes), the family is under a supervisory period for six months before they can finalize the adoption with a judge. During that six month supervisory period, the baby (or child) comes to live with the family but the adoptive parents have not yet established firm legal parenting rights. Once the six month period is over, the parents must go to court to finalize the adoption with a judge. They may do so any day they would like, but many families choose to wait until Adoption Day which takes place once a month at the Fort Worth courthouse.
The courtroom was decorated with balloons and stuffed animals and about twenty families gathered with their children, friends and relatives to finalize the adoption. Rather than feeling like a sober courtroom, it felt like a large family reunion with parents doting over their children. One by one each family (parents, children, extended family and friends) was invited in front of the judge to finalize their adoption papers. Then the excited new parents and child got to take a family photo with the judge holding the baby (or child). Each newly adopted child and his or her siblings left with a balloon and stuffed animals. It was potentially the happiest occasion to ever take place in court.
Every family was so beautiful and the occasion so wonderful, but I was particularly touched by the adoption of a sibling group of three African American girls. The girls appeared to be about ages 12, 9 and 7. It was so exciting to see them enter a forever family and I couldn’t help but think about how today has changed the course of their lives forever in a way that will allow them to grow together and reach their potential with the love and support of their parents.