FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Tarrant County Family Law Building was crowded and echoed with sounds of the occasional child expressing discomfort at standing and listening to a speech from a Tarrant County judge Friday.
The event was the end of a long legal road for dozens of foster care families.
Amid the expressions of appreciation to staff and lawyers, the judge said, “I want to thank each of you for opening your hearts and your homes to these wonderful children.”
Before the day was over, 41 children were adopted in Tarrant County and the whirlwind event was held in recognition of National Adoption Day.
Processing so many people wasn’t a quiet process. Dozens of people milled about in the atrium outside of the courtroom, waiting to make an appearance before the judge.
“Docket call, 360th!” a bailiff yelled trying to find the next family in the crowd.
The whole thing was a noisy and confusing process to the little people who just want a permanent, caring home.
“The children who were adopted on National Adoption Day were abused or neglected within their home and Child Protective Services took custody of these children and they were not able to return to their families,” explained Tarrant County Family Law Judge Jean Boyd. “So today they are being united with a loving family where they’ll have a permanent home.”
There are similar ceremonies across the country. In many cases, the foster families have taken care of the children for years.
“When they first came in anyway, I knew they were going to be with us forever anyway because I just wanted to get them out of the system and give them a life like they need,” said Kevin Jefferson, who was adopting his niece and nephew.
The court procedure is very similar to taking a wedding vow.
“Do you promise to love her forever?” a court staff member asked the adopting mother, who had her right hand raised. “To take care of her forever and be her mother forever?”
When it’s all over, the parents are visibly relieved.
“We don’t have to worry about the courts no more,” Tommy Roberts said happily. His family now consists of a just adopted a 22-month-old who he’d been taking care of almost her whole life. “We can go on with our lives,” he said.
There are still more than 800 children in Tarrant County alone waiting for a day like this.