On Friday, November 18, 2016, Baylor Law School hosted its largest Adoption Day ever. Aided by fifty-nine Baylor Law School students, a record-breaking fourty-one children were adopted into loving, permanent families.
Baylor Law School hosts Adoption Day in recognition of November as National Adoption Month. Each year, Baylor Law School celebrates the joys of adoption and encourages more people to pursue adoption as a way to give children permanent families. Baylor Law School's ninth annual celebration is part of a nationwide effort to call special attention to the foster children waiting in the United States and to celebrate all loving families that adopt.
Through the dedicated efforts of many Baylor Law School students, the first floor of the law center was colorfully decorated and transformed into a fun, family celebration based on the childrens' movie "Finding Dory,"— this year's Adoption Day theme: "Adoptions: Finding Families." Faculty and students greeted families, entertained children, and attended to "Finding Dory" inspired games and activities dressed as characters from the popular film such as Marlin, Hank, Nemo, and of course — Dory. Gift baskets, a well stocked luncheon, and custom cakes were provided thanks to the generosity of numerous sponsors.
Baylor Law School students consistently proclaim how Baylor Law's Adoption Day is one of the best, and most memorable days they have during their time at Baylor Law School. It is a program that the law students truly enjoy planning and participating in and serves as a way to give back to the community, which is a fundamental aspect of Baylor Law's emphasis on pro bono activities and public service.
"All of us at Baylor Law School are humbled and grateful to be able to provide a day of celebration to these well-deserving children and their families," said Professor Bridget Fuselier, founder of Baylor Law's Adoption Day program. "But we couldn't do it without all of the tremendous support from our students, administrators, faculty, and community sponsors."
Baylor Law School hosts the event in collaboration with the Baylor Law Public Interest Legal Society, the Waco-McLennan County Bar Association, and the McLennan County office of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Sponsors for Baylor Law's 2016 Adoption Day included:
2008 Event Theme "Celebrating a Family for Every Child," 15 children/11 families
2009 Event Theme "I’m Special, I was Picked," 18 children/11 families
2010 Event Theme "A Family’s Love is To Infinity & Beyond," 26 children/13 families
2011 Event Theme "Adoptions Are Awesomeness," 22 children/11 families
2012 Event Theme "Family is King," 17 children/14 families
2013 Event Theme "There’s No Place Like Home," 26 children/17 families
2014 Event Theme "Adoptable Me," 25 children/14 families
2015 Event Theme "Adoptions Build Families," 32 children
In the United States, there are approximately 510,000 foster care children, and 129,000 of them are waiting to be adopted. Since 1987, the number of children in foster care nationally has doubled, and the average time a child remains in foster care has lengthened to nearly three years. Each year, approximately 26,000 children in foster care will age out of the system without ever being placed with a permanent family.
Nearly 48 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care, according to a recent National Adoption Attitudes Survey commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. If just one in 500 of these adults adopt, all the 129,000 children in foster care waiting for adoption would have permanent families.
In an effort to promote and celebrate foster care adoptions, Baylor Law School has been hosting the McLennan County Adoption Day Celebration since 2008. The event was created by Professor Bridget Fuselier, a faculty member who had personally experienced the joy of Adoption Day during her practice as an attorney. Through her time in Jefferson County, Texas, Professor Fuselier volunteered each year to handle an adoption for a family pro bono. Seeing how giving such a small amount of her time had such a profound impact on a family, she developed a great love for the program.
After joining the Baylor Law School faculty and volunteering in McLennan County, Texas, Professor Fuselier approached the local Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) about partnering to have an event dedicated to adoption at the law school. Since the beginning of the program in 2008, it continues to grow each year as an event that celebrates community and family. Each year the event is organized around a theme which children can relate to. The school is decorated, students are in costume, and the families receive themed cakes and gift baskets.
For more information on Adoption Day, or to donate a monetary gifts to support future Adoptions Day programs please contact Professor Bridget Fuselier at email@example.com.