By Caleb Mynatt, The Belton Journal
The 12 months on the calendar each have something special that Americans celebrate and use to bring awareness to an issue. Though some of the most recognizable events are Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and National Autism Awareness Month in April, November has its own special claim to fame. November is Adoption Awareness Month, and though it’s not as famous as its counterparts in October and April, it has so much to offer to the children and families of Bell County, as well as America.
“Adoption Awareness Month is a truly great thing, and Bell County will continue to run its Adoption Day,” said Cynthia Champion, a local lawyer and Chairperson of the Bell County Bar Association. “This is the fifth year that we’ve had it, and we have roughly 18 families and 30 kiddos that will be participating.”
What is Adoption Day, exactly? It’s a local event that promotes and helps families take that final step in the adoption process.
“On Nov. 13, the Belton Courthouse will hold the Adoption Day, and it’s essentially a day where lawyers and judges and families can come together to help them adopt their children that they’ve been caring for,” said Champion. “Whether it’s step-parents adopting children or foster children being adopted by their foster families, the Adoption Day is in place to help that happen. BCBA partners with the Department of Children and Family Services, also known as Child Protective Services, to make it happen.”
Though the adoption process can be a long and strenuous one, Adoption Day is truly a special opportunity for the families to make that final step in the process. Though it’s held in a courtroom, it feels nothing like a typical court date, as adoption is something to celebrate.
“It’s our goal to make the Adoption Day feel like a party for everyone involved, as it’s something to really be happy about,” said Champion. “We are decorating the court room with Wizard of Oz things, as the theme is ‘There’s No Place Like Home.’ There’s going to be a cutout of the Lion and the Tin Man and things like that.”
Adoption Day is headed by law agencies such as DCFS and Bar, but the entire community comes together to really make this day a special one for the families involved.
“We have all sorts of help from people around Bell County,” said Champion. “We have a photographer that comes and donates her time and pictures to us and the families involved in adoption. We give away gift bags that are made by various businesses and donators. A local jeweler out of Killeen will make heart shape necklaces for girls and dog tags for boys that has their adoptive name and date engraved on them. It really does become a community effort to give these families are truly special experience on this special day.”
With Adoption Day rapidly approaching, there’s a lot to be excited for. Though Adoption Awareness Month may not be the most popular month long event, it is definitely an important one, and impacts families all over.
“If you are going to visit the courthouse on any day, Adoption Day is definitely the day to come. There is never a dry eye in the house, but they are happy tears. Everyone is touched by the happiness of the families and the stories of the kids,” said Champion. “I see officers and guards standing in the back, and they too have tears in their eyes. Everyone is touched, and it’s truly something special to see.”