The San Jacinto room inside the Lone Star Convention Center and Expo was standing room only Nov. 17 as 15 children were officially adopted into families as part of National Adoption Day.

A closer look

Court at Law 3 Judge Amy Tucker presided over the event, which finalized the adoption of 15 children into permanent homes. Dozens of family members, child advocate representatives and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services personnel filled the conference room.

According to Melissa Lanford, communication coordinator with DFPS, there are currently 570 children awaiting adoption in child protective services; 90 of those children are within Montgomery County.

What they’re saying

“You're not just changing the lives of the children you are adopting; you're changing the lives of their children's children and their children's children,” Tucker said. “It's generational change, and I think everyone in this room will agree with me; when you change the life of a child you are changing the world.”

“They will have what they need to break the mold and redefine their destiny," said Serenity Vega, a CPS conservatorship supervisor with DFPS. "I am so excited for all of the families and kids here today. It's going to be so amazing when they look back on everything that they've accomplished since being welcomed into a family.”

“This is very, very exciting. It's been a long time coming, and it’s so relieving as well,” said Jessica Gutierrez, one of the adoptive parents during the event.

The impact

The average adoption proceeding can take anywhere from six to 18 months, according to Tucker, depending on how longer other case factors take. Through adoption, children in the state foster care system are able to transition into permanent homes. In some cases, the adoptive family originally fostered the child for a period of time.

National Adoption Day is celebrated annually on the week before Thanksgiving. It was initially founded in 2000 as an effort to raise awareness for children in the foster care system.