47 children get forever families at Austin Adoption Day

Nov 13 2013

47 children get forever families at Austin Adoption Day

Courtrooms filled with stuffed animals. Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion skipping along the yellow brick road. Balloon rainbows arching across the hallways. It must be Adoption Day, one of the most joy-filled days Austin sees each year!

Last week 47 children were officially welcomed into their forever families on Adoption Day 2013. They went through the adoption court proceedings, took family portraits, made handprint arts and crafts, played at the CASA fishing booth, met clowns and magicians, and received personalized jewelry gifts to help remember this special day thanks to Kruger’s Diamond Jewelers.

This year, Glinda the Good Witch represented CASA during adoption ceremonies for 3 different children. This was CASA supervisor Audrey Sherman’s first year to play Glinda as part of our cast of Wizard of Oz characters, and she was very happy to wear the big pink dress and tiara, as well as to be part of so many adoptions. “I was already so excited to be part of the process of three children getting their forever families on Adoption Day. Getting to be Glinda for the day made it even better! I feel like it gave the day an even more magical feel, at least for me, as the judges referred to me as Glinda during the hearings and the kids I advocated for didn't necessarily recognize me at first. Being part of the day as Glinda was just like the cherry on top,” said Audrey.

Audrey as Glinda and CASA volunteer Tracy Bissett   

Audrey Sherman as Glinda with CASA volunteer Tracy Bissett; Audrey compares pink dresses with a girl who was being adopted

Audrey shared that her “favorite part of Adoption Day was seeing the families together and the range of emotions that came with knowing that their family was now ‘official.’ The families I had been working with had already viewed the children they were adopting as part of their family for months or even years, and getting the finality that came along with Adoption Day was just incredibly heartwarming.”

   

The Honorable Gisela Triana shows the oldest sister her necklace; The Velez Ortiz family eagerly awaits the adoption

Ashley Kaden served as the CASA volunteer for 6 children who were all adopted into the Velez Ortiz family this day. The Honorable Gisela Triana presided over these adoption proceedings and had a wonderful time speaking with each of the children about their new forever family and giving them their personalized jewelry gifts. She explained to the older children how it would be their responsibility to tell their younger siblings about this special day and what the date on their necklaces and bracelets meant to their family.

16-year-old Anna dressed up as Dorothy (on left) herself for her adoption ceremony and had a great time posing with CASA’s Dorothy (on right), Alejandra Pena, and the rest of the crew from Oz.

The Love family was excited to bring a new baby sister to their family and everyone eagerly raised their hand to be sworn-in during the proceedings.

   

Isaac happily asleep with his family; CASA supervisor Lisa Davila with Isaac's CASA volunteer Everett Carmody

Young Isaac slept through most of the ceremony where his grandmother officially adopted him, but CASA volunteer Everett Carmody spoke on his behalf after serving as his advocate for the last 2 years. "As I look around the courthouse during Adoption Day I am well aware that the trajectory of these kiddos' lives is changing today.  Many have come from broken homes, or worse, and I smile because they have a new chance today... How Cool!" shared Everett after Isaac was adopted.

The annual Austin Adoption Day event is hosted through a collaborative partnership between the Austin Bar Association, Austin Bar Foundation, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Adoption Coalition of Texas, CASA of Travis County, Travis County Juvenile Justice Division, Travis County Office of Child Representation, and Travis County Children's Protective Services Board.  

You can see photos from Adoption Day on CASA’s Flickr and Facebook and the Austin American-Statesman, and watch news coverage on KVUE and YNN Austin.