The McLennan County’s National Adoption Day event had the highest number of foster care children adopted since the event started nine years ago.
Twenty-two families celebrated receiving a judge’s approval to adopt 41 children at an event held at the Baylor Law School. Finding Dory was the inspiration for this year's theme, which was Adoption Finding Families.
Baylor Law School Professor Bridget Fuselier, who is the faculty sponsor of the event, said it aims to celebrate foster care adoptions in the community.
"It's the happy day that they get to say all the bad stuff is done now we get to move forward and have our life together. It also spreads some awareness of how many children are in this situation and how many children will get to have a new family and new home,” Fuselier said.
Peggy Allen adopted her two grandchildren, nine-year-old Ayzlen and seven-year-old Alexander, who have live with her all her life.
"Today it brings an end with the formal part of CPS and now we can continue our live routinely, peacefully, calmly, we hope,” Allen said.
A judge approved their adoption order and changing Ayzlen’s last name to Allen.
“My former parents didn't have a home and my [grandmother] just had the best home. It may be old and rickety but it is the only house I really like,” Ayzlen said.
According to Ayzlen, she missed the house when she had to live elsewhere for a month last year.
"I feel really happy and relieved that I won't have to worry about being placed [elsewhere] again,” Ayzlen said.
Allen who said the children did not live there before she completed her home study with Child Protective Services.
"I never wanted to them to go into foster care again. They were gone for 30 days before I could get them back to my house and I will move heaven and earth so that will not happen again,” Allen said.
Allen and other families celebrated the milestone with games, food, and presents provided at the event.
Lauren and Bonfilio Cruz family grew to four after adopting Lauren’s two-year-old cousin. Lauren’s uncle does not have custody of toddler or her four-year-old brother. The Cruz family had already adopted the boy in 2013.
"We didn't want them to be split up so they would grow up knowing each other,” Lauren said. “We’re excited. We had been waiting for this moment for a long time.”
Foster children lives with families for at least six months before the adoption process starts. 14 families adopted a child they were related to and eight foster families adopted a child they were not related to.
Copyright 2016 KXXV, All rights reserved.