AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Saint Francis Ministries recognized National Adoption Day in Randall County on Thursday. Saint Francis staff and West Texas A&M students dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz and celebrated the children joining their families today.

Erin Baxter, Director of Community Engagement talked about why this is important.

“I think it really brings awareness to the need that there are children who are waiting especially in our area. I mean these kids are local these you know. These are Amarillo kids these are canyon kids. Right now, in our region there are 67 children awaiting a forever family, they are ready to go, and they are just looking for homes.” she said.

Saint Francis Ministries partners with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in the Panhandle and south plains covering 41 counties. Baxter said they entered the community-based care transition in March 2022.

“So, we play the role of CPS here in this region it’s called community-based care. And we are the state contractor for this region. So, we actually facilitate all adoptions.”

Aimee Paquett, the Texas adoption resource exchange coordinator, talked about the process of adopting a child.

“So, the process to bring kids together is to first start contact people like us saint Francis or the department of family and protective services and get yourself what we call an adoption home study. By having that home study, you can start looking for your child anywhere in America,” she said.

Cassidy James, a first-time adopter, spoke about her process of adopting her child.

“We actually had the child for two years. We fostered her for two years and so after parent’s rights got terminated, we got the option to adopt since we had her longer than six months,” she added.

Baxter said that although it is a national day, it is important to celebrate the local children. She adds that every community has a local group of children that should be celebrated during this month.

According to DFPS, the number of children adopted in Texas in the fiscal year of 2021 was 4,627. In the Panhandle 317 children were able to be adopted.

Saint Francis Ministries will be recognizing national adoption day in Lubbock on Friday. If you would like to learn more about the organization or even how you can adopt you can visit their website.