In November, a partnership between Baylor Law and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in McLennan County marked its 11th annual National Adoption Day celebration.
This year’s theme of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” transformed the first floor of the Umphrey Law Center into a Christmas wonderland. The 2018 Adoption Day festivities transported adoptive children and their new families on a magical trip to the North Pole on the Polar Express with games, food and fun for everyone involved.
However, the most wonderful moment of the day occurred when McLennan County Judge Nikki Mundkowsky, JD ’93, finalized the adoptions of 36 children from foster care.
Baylor Law Professor Bridget Fuselier, JD ’98, serves as the sponsor of Baylor Law’s Public Interest Society, which plans the event to coincide with National Adoption Month (November).
She noted that the happy day underscores a great need in Texas and across the country.
“We are honored to have played a part in more than 300 adoptions in the past decade,” Fuselier said. “Adoption Day is part of a nationwide effort to call attention to the more than 117,000 foster children across the country who are waiting for adoption.”
“We are honored to have played a part in more than 300 adoptions in the past decade.”
Approximately 30,000 children are in foster care in Texas alone, with nearly 4,000 waiting for adoption.
“Many will age out of the system without ever finding a permanent home,” Fuselier said.
The children whose adoptions were finalized during National Adoption Day were removed from their original homes by Child Protective Services and parental rights were terminated. Several of the children who have now officially found their “forever home” have been in foster care for many years.
“Being a small part of system that can give a child a family—a loving, safe and supportive family that every child deserves—is a great honor and the highlight of my job,” Mundkowski said. “It is truly incredible to see and feel the culmination of the department’s work, in conjunction with the work of attorneys, others and families on Adoption Day.”
Since the Law School’s first Adoption Day event in 1988, family friendly themes have included “The Family Awakens” and “Adoptions: Finding Families,” with games and characters tied to the movies Star Wars and Finding Dory, respectively. More than 500 Baylor Law students through the years have volunteered thousands of hours before, during and after Adoption Day, one of the largest volunteer events at the Law School.
Reflecting the University’s Christian mission to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service, Baylor Law School provides its students and faculty members with a range of opportunities to provide legal services to underserved and vulnerable members of the community. In addition to Adoption Day, the Law School’s public service programs include a Veterans Assistance Clinic, Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Immigration Clinic and The People’s Law School program.