AUSTIN (KXAN) — For 19 years, Austin has been part of a nationwide effort called Adoption Day. It’s a day that highlights when children in foster care find their forever home.
On Nov. 5, Travis County judges will finalize the adoption of 31 children and awareness of the 2,900 children in Texas still waiting to be adopted.
District Court Judge Darlene Byrne presides over all foster children in Travis County. She has participated in Austin Adoption day for 15 years, but this year is different. Instead of finalizing the adoptions in a courtroom filled with families, balloons and and gifts, the event will be virtual because of the pandemic.
Judges will perform the adoptions remotely but still keep the Wizard of Oz theme of there is “No Place Like Home.” Byrne will preside over five of the adoptions from her courtroom and connect with the families from the safety of their home.
“Because we’re doing it on this format of Zoom, we don’t have any boundaries like when we do it in person and hold these hearings, so in that regard the pandemic has opened the door for these adoption to bring in more of the extended family and friends that just want to love on all these children,” she said.
The virtual setting will allow extended family from all the country to take part in Austin’s virtual Adoption Day. In fiscal year 2020, there were 5,238 children adopted in Texas. In Travis County, there were 199 children adopted. There are more than 2,900 children in Texas and 55 in Travis County currently waiting to be adopted.