• Children join their forever families at Baylor Law School’s Adoption Day

    Baylor Law adoption day

    Typically, the atmosphere around Baylor’s Umphrey Law Center — home to Baylor Law School — has more in common with the halls of justice than the halls of an elementary school. But Friday was an exception, as the sharp wood panels were covered in bright colored balloons and streamers, and students and professors walked the halls dressed as cartoon characters.

    No, it wasn’t a birthday party for the dean. For the 41 children whose adoptions were finalized, it was a much, much bigger celebration.

    The “Finding Dory”-themed event was part of the McLennan County Adoption Day Celebration hosted by Baylor since 2008. In a series of emotional ceremonies, foster children and their soon-to-be parents stood in front of a judge and raised their right hands as they were sworn into their new families. After all the legal statements — mainly, the children affirming their desire to join this family and the parents promising to provide a loving home — the judge signed 41 decrees of adoption and other final documents. For the participating families, that moment marked the end of months, perhaps years-long processes to finally be legally recognized as a family.

    [SEE PHOTOS from Adoption Day 2016]

    Baylor Law School has hosted McLennan County’s adoption ceremony for almost a decade now, thanks to the initiative of law professor Bridget Fuselier, JD ’98. Fuselier had often handled families’ adoption processes pro bono before returning to her alma mater, and she knew how much happiness she could bring a family simply by volunteering some of her time. Soon after joining the faculty at Baylor Law School, she approached the local Department of Family and Protective Services and the Baylor Law Public Interest Legal Society about hosting an annual event dedicated to adoption. Nine years later, the number of student volunteers in the program has doubled, and hundreds of children have joined their forever families.

    Sic ’em, Baylor Law School!