Students give back on National Adoption Day

December 1, 2015

NAD-logo-purpleNineteen Texas A&M University School of Law students assisted attorneys with prove-ups and case documents for National Adoption Day (NAD) in Tarrant County on Nov. 20.

Sixty-six children were adopted into 40 forever families at the Tarrant County Family Law Center in downtown Fort Worth. During this annual event, courts and attorneys waive all fees to consummate adoptions for dozens of foster children. Texas A&M School of Law was among the eight organizations that sponsored Tarrant County NAD.

Hands-on Real-world Experience
The Aggie law students participating in National Adoption Day gained significant hands-on training in family court adoption proceedings while donating valuable pro bono service hours to the community. The students, standing with the children and their new families, proved-up the adoptions in front of the judge. During the fall semester, they prepared the legal adoption documents under the supervision of mentor lawyers.

N​ational ​Adoption ​Day is a collective, national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care who wait ​for an average of four years for permanent and loving families. The event, now in its 16th year, is held in nearly 400 cities across the country.

2L Ariel Lira was among the group of students who participated. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“It was extremely rewarding getting to help these sweet kids officially become part of a family with loving parents that have welcomed them into their home as if they were their own,” she said. “Hearing their stories and seeing the difference that their adoptive parents have made in their lives is incredibly moving.”

Lira plans on pursuing family law after graduation.

Adoption Day 2015 2L Ryan Palmer2L Ryan Palmer (on far right) stands before the judge with the family to prove-up the adoption.
Photo courtesy of Michael Board

Shawna Smith, Student Affairs Program Coordinator, said this year’s event was an emotional one.

“As I watched all of the smiling children get adopted into their forever families and the Texas A&M law students who assisted in that process, I felt overwhelmed with joy and pride.”

“The parents were crying tears of joy,” Smith said.

Smith the students all did an “amazing job” assisting their attorneys with prove-ups and case documents.

Adoption Day 2015 Danielle Bonanno3L Danielle Bonanno in the company of superheroes
Photo courtesy of ​Abbey ​Kirby

The theme for this year’s Adoption Day was superheroes, complete with costumed characters, from Captain America to Supergirl, ​greeting the children. Some of the Texas A&M law student volunteers also served as “caped crusaders.” Smith said the kids were very excited to see superheroes walking around. Teddy bears, many collected by students and donated by the Office of Student Affairs, decorated the courtrooms and were distributed to the children.

Tarrant County Family Law District Court judges and associate judges for the cases included Judge Nancy Berger (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law [TWU Law] ’94), Judge Jesus Nevarez, Jr. (TWU Law ’01), Associate Judge Lindsay DeVos (TWU Law ’03) and Associate Judge Cynthia Mendoza (TWU Law ’03).

Aggie Law student volunteers were:

1L Sam Crecelius
1L Margaret McCroan
1L Mattilyn Smith
1L Christopher Ventura
2L Gabriel Arteaga
2L Ariel Lira
2L Amanda Martinez
2L Kathlynn Pack
2L Ryan Palmer
2L Cassie Rosales
2L Yi-Wen Shih (Julie)
3L Danielle Bonanno
3L Chris Cantu

3L Katelyn Fikes
3L Ryan Gubler
3L Amber Hulcahan
3L Dawn King
​3L Miranda Rodriguez
3L Kathleen Smith

TAMU Law students at Adoption Day 2015Aggie Law students ready for Adoption Day at the Tarrant County Family Law Center
Photo courtesy of Shawna Smith

Learn more about the Tarrant County National Adoption Day ​event with these media links:

- Article by Jennifer Nassar, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University School of Law