AUSTIN (KXAN) - Dozens of Central Texas children found forever homes Thursday. Thirty-seven children were officially adopted in Travis County.
The Gardner-Betts Juvenile Justice Center was transformed into a scene from "The Wizard of Oz" complete with a yellow brick road. Stuffed animals overran the courtrooms as 21 families celebrated Austin Adoption Day.
Kelly Kearley was among the proud new parents. She adopted her son, Dominic, Thursday morning. She's taken care of him since he was three days old.
"I've always had a heart to adopt," said Kearley. "As a single mom, this just seemed like the perfect way to do that. Each day that I've had Dominic in my home has been a blessing."
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services officials said there are still hundreds more in foster care who are awaiting the same happy ending.
In Travis County, 158 children are waiting for adoption. That number is nearly 6,000 statewide, with 400 children who are in foster care in Travis County at any given time. There are 5,000 children across the state who are in the same situation.
DFPS siad there is especially a need for families to adopt African-American children.
"Currently 35 percent of the children waiting to be adopted in the state of Texas are African-American children and we really need to change that," said Julie Moody, DFPS spokesperson.
It's an issue addressed by the "Why Not Me?" campaign , started in 2007. The goal of the campaign is to increase the number of older children and African-American children adopted.
DFPS said 190 Travis County children were adopted in fiscal year 2010. Statewide, 4,772 DFPS children were adopted.
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