Photo: Maria Salas/Laredo Morning Times
The 406th District Court was filled with smiles, hugs and excitement Friday morning during the Adoption Day Ceremony held by the Department of Family and Protective Services.
Carmen and Jesus Garcia have been foster parents to Jesus Angel for two and a half years. They officially became his parents after Judge Oscar Hale Jr. approved the adoption paperwork.
“We wanted to adopt a boy. Actually, our daughter is adopted as well and she wanted a brother. She wanted to be a big sister. So we started fostering a little boy. Boys can be more active than girls,” the Garcias said. “It’s changed our lives. It’s made it really happy. We’ve bonded so much with him since he’s been in our lives.”
READ MORE: Carlos Correa and Daniella Rodriguez picked out wedding bands in Houston
Every year Adoption Day is celebrated to increase awareness about the need for more permanent homes as there are thousands of children statewide who wish to be adopted into their forever family.
“There are a lot of children out there looking for a forever family,” Carmen Garcia said. “They go through a lot of abuse and neglect. What they go through is not their fault. My husband and I just decided to make a difference. We opened up our hearts and our homes. We wanted to grow our family.”
Claudia Canales-Esquivel is a Child Protective Services conservatorship specialist supervisor.
MORE ON LMTOnline: Laredo Police hand out turkeys instead of traffic citations
When children are not able to return to their families due to termination of parental rights by a court, Canales-Esquivel’s job is to find them permanent homes.
“All three of the families are foster families. So they were caring for the children in their homes already and now they’ve made them permanent household members,” Canales-Esquivel said.
Everything changed for three families as Hale presided over the three adoption cases. He granted full rights and name changes to the children present for the ceremony.
“The adoption process was a smooth process,” Garcia said. “It really doesn’t take that much. You do have to follow regulations with the state. As a parent, you just have to be compliant. But it’s beautiful because these kids just want a place to call home just like any other person.”
READ MORE: Houston police officer arrested in massive prostitution sting identified
“I encourage the community to look into getting information about the children that we have eligible for adoption,” Canales-Esquivel said. “Our children deserve families that they can call their own. For every child our goal and our main purpose is to find them forever families.
“I want people to keep an open mind and open heart and consider adoption and being that family that a child needs no matter what age.”
For more information visit www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adoption_and_Foster_Care/About_Adoption/
Maria Salas may be reached at 728-2580 or firstname.lastname@example.org