On Friday, November 19th, 14 new families were legally formed and 20 former foster children were finally adopted into their new families. For the fourteenth straight year, Baylor Law faculty, staff, and students joined with members of the McLennan County Department of Families and Child Protective Services and the judiciary to celebrate McLennan County’s Adoption Day.
Since 2008, Baylor Law has celebrated the joys of adoption and encouraged more people to pursue adoption as a way to give children permanent families. In our current COVID-impacted environment, Baylor Law was unable to host the event on campus. Refusing to be discouraged, Adoption Day’s architect, Professor of Law Bridget Fuselier, found sponsors who enabled her to host the event at the Extraco Event Center so that the celebrations could continue.
In a series of joy-filled, emotional ceremonies, former foster children swore statements affirming their desire to join their new families, and their parents publicly promised to provide them a loving, stable home. Judge Nikki Mundkowsky of McLennan County’s Centex Child Protection Court North signed 14 decrees of adoption and other final documents. For these Central Texas families, that moment marked the end of months-, and in some cases, years-long processes to be legally recognized as a family. The 20 children who were adopted had been removed from previous homes by the McLennan County Department of Families and Child Protective Services and their original parental rights were terminated. Many of the children adopted had been in the foster care system for many years.
The ‘Moana”-themed event required more than 100 volunteer Baylor Law students who worked alongside dozens of partners from the Department of Families and Child Protective Services to decorate the event center, produce personalized gift baskets for each of the children, prepare games and activities for the kids, and serve food and drinks to everyone in attendance.
"Celebrating Adoption Day is one of the highlights of my year,” stated Professor Fuselier at the event. “It is an honor to get to participate with these children as they start their new lives with families who love them. It's really an honor to play a small part in their big day and we pull out all the stops to celebrate with them."
“It’s an honor to celebrate adoption day and the loving families that every child is entitled to,” stated Judge Mundkowsky. “And it’s very cool to have all the workers who work so hard to be able to see their work come to fruition,” she added.
Since launching its first Adoption Day in 2008, the Law School has seen more than 300 children adopted into more than 200 families.
November is National Adoption Month, and McLennan County Adoption Day is among several events throughout the month dedicated to celebrating adoptions and highlighting the need for adoptive families.
Additional photos of the special event are available on Baylor Law's Facebook page, here.
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Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at baylor.edu