Students of the Texas Woman’s University’s social work program volunteered for Denton County’s annual Adoption Day celebration at the city courthouse on Nov. 5. This marked the third year that social work students participated in Denton County’s Adoption Day as a part of the social work practice and children’s rights and services courses, as well as the Child Abuse Protection Society (CAPS).
Denton’s Adoption Day is a combined community service project of the Denton County Bar Association, the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Denton County, Child Protective services and the Denton County Lawyer’s Foundation. The DCLF supports much of the funding and provides pro-bono adoptions for low-income foster families each year.
This courthouse held various scheduled adoptions that event visitors and participants could watch Denton County judges finalize adoption processes. This year, 13 children in total were united with forever homes and families.
After each adoption, the children were welcomed to an Adoption Day keepsake—their choice of a stuffed toy among many that decorated each courtroom. Social work major Theodore Nguyen said that being able to watch so many children join families was indescribably heartwarming and inspiring.
“It’s kind of like in the movies and the tears just come out,” Nguyen said. “Seeing something like families being created is just amazing and a life-changing experience.”
Nguyen said he plans on working directly with CPS after graduation and that he aims to provide smooth transitions for foster children during the adoption process as he knows how difficult it can be.
“I know a lot of [children] struggle with feeling secure in their relationships, so that’s the main thing,” Nguyen said. “I just want to be able to support them.”
Many social work students participate in internships with CPS as a part of their studies that many students like Sonia Rocha have said they often highly anticipate. Rocha said that she looks forward to experiencing working with many more children and families.
“I’m excited to see more families supporting other families and the kids,” Rocha said. “I want to make sure that I will help give the support that they will need.”
TWU’s social work program values community involvement, associate professor Michele Bland said. Students volunteer and host multiple events throughout the year including a prom dress drive and teen conference for foster youth along with an annual Child Welfare and Ethics Conference.
“Being an integral part of a community event such as Denton National Adoption Day certainly broadens the students’ knowledge base,” Bland said. “Despite the bad things that occur within the system, there are many positive factors such as this adoption day, permanency and forever families.”
As an advisor for CAPS, Bland said that she is grateful that organization members and social students are given opportunities to help relieve the abuse and neglect within the foster care system. Bland said she looks forward to the organization and courses continuing their assistance for children in need.
Gakenia Njenga can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.