The County Court at Law will move from the Anderson County Courthouse Thursday for a special reason: adoption.
November is National Adoption Month. To observe it, 11 children from our community will join their forever families in a special adoption ceremony at the First United Methodist Church in the court of Judge Jeff Doran.
“Many of the adopting families are traveling in, some from a couple of hours away, to adopt these children in their hometowns,” Judge Doran said.
Two couples will adopt a family of six children, Doran said. Anderson County Commissioners Court on Monday voted to move the court for this one-time event.
“We have to move court documents and everything we need for court to this location for the event,” Doran said.
The decision to hold ceremony in the church was based solely on space, Doran said, when asked if the event raised any issues regarding the principle of separation of church and state.
“We aren’t actually having the event in the church, but in the church’s recreational hall,” he said. “If you think about it, most of the locations large enough for these kind of events, including working kitchens, are owned by churches. This space was large enough and available on the date we needed it. It's as simple as that.”
To make the occasion memorable, a private party for the families will take place after the ceremony.
Sea Scouts will join members of Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and Child Protective Services (CPS), as well as Anderson County employees.
Lamely Hall will be decorated with a carnival theme for the event, which is private to the families. It includes games, face painting, and snow cones.
Anderson County has not put on an event like this in a long time. “They host them often in Smith County, but I can’t remember the last one we had in Anderson County – it’s been that long,” Doran said.
Last year, families nationwide adopted 4,000 children on Nov. 23, National Adoption Day.
President Clinton inaugurated the the first National Adoption Month in 1995. This year's theme is, “Youth Voices: Why Family Matters.”
Nearly, 450,000 children live in the U.S. foster care system, and that number is rising. More than 123,000 of these children are eligible for adoption. They will wait an average of four years to be adopted.
In 2017, 19,945 children – 8 percent – aged out of the foster care system, growing up without the emotional and financial support that most children living with families are likely to receive.
Based on statistics, those who age out of foster care will fare poorer in postsecondary education, careers, housing, public assistance status, and criminal records.