Hearts linked by law

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DRC/Bj Lewis
Alan and Susan Wilkins celebrate with 9-year-old Hailey moments after a Denton County judge finalized the couple’s adoption of the girl on Friday. Hailey’s adoption was one of 10 that took place during the sixth annual Denton County Adoption Day.

Adoption Day brings families together in Denton County court

Hailey Wilkins walked out of a Denton County courtroom with an armful of stuffed animals and her new forever family at her side.

Nine-year-old Hailey was one of 10 children, ages 1 through 12 years old, adopted during the sixth annual Denton County Adoption Day on Friday.

“The purpose is that all of the kids eligible in Denton County in the foster system get adopted on this day,” said Marcie Martinez, Adoption Day organizer.

The day includes the adoptions, which are done pro bono by attorneys, as well as games, food and activities for the kids to enjoy.

“It’s a good thing for the community and the legal community as well to give these kids a forever home,” Martinez said. “They are all done on the same day, and it’s a big celebration in Denton County.”

Susan and Alan Wilkins were all smiles after the judge made their adoption of Hailey official. During the ceremony, they both had to reaffirm their understanding of the adoption and what it meant for them and Hailey.

Hailey, as well, had to answer whether she wanted to be adopted by the Wilkins. The answer came quickly, easily and with a smile.

“It’s been long wait. We have been anticipating this for quite a long time,” Susan Wilkins said. “She’s our little slice of heaven. We’re looking forward to many years of joy and tears.”

Alan Wilkins credited everyone from Court Appointed Special Advocates of Denton County to Child Protective Services to the judges and attorneys involved for getting the family through what has been a two-year process.

“I’m just glad to get adopted because I have been waiting for a really long time,” Hailey said as she held on to her stuffed animals.

The courtroom was packed with the toy animals. And kids who were adopted were allowed to take as many as they could carry.

“It helps a day like this for the children,” Alan Wilkins said. “It makes it real easy on them, to see the courtroom — not just your basic courtroom, but all set up for the kids.”

Susan Wilkins said the Denton County Adoption Day ceremony and the fun-filled day were more than she and her husband expected.

“It’s nice to know that they’ve gone as far to acknowledge her as her being a part of our family now,” she said of her daughter.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter @BjlewisDRC.

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