TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — Every day, children across Texas wait and hope for a family to call their own. During Travis County Adoption Day on Thursday, Nov. 4, 20 children in the Texas foster care system will celebrate their adoption into 12 families across the area.
After spending their lives in and out of Child Protective Services, the Crenshaw siblings are some of the children who have finally found their forever home.
Eight-year-old Isaiah, 9-year-old Elijah and 10-year-old Aniiah quickly entered the system when they were born because their parents could not support them. But their grandmother, Ava Smith, stood by their side from the beginning, making sure they were safe.
"I saw that trouble was lurking and the environment was not safe," Smith said.
When Elijah was three, Smith adopted him. But the cycle continued for Aniiah and Isaiah for another few years, and Smith found herself taking on the role of mother and grandmother for the children.
Finally, in April 2020, Smith decided to ask Aniiah and Isaiah if they wanted a permanent and safe place to live with her and Elijah.
"Here we get treated better. A lot better," Aniiah said.
The children's judge, Aurora Martinez Jones, has overseen their cases for years. When she heard the news that Smith wanted to adopt Aniiah and Isaiah, she knew it was right.
"This one [Aniiah] sat me down and told me, 'Judge, I know you give people a chance. I know you really want to see good things, but I know what I want right now. I know what I want, and this is where I want to be,'" Martinez-Jones said.
As Smith adopts her grandchildren, she's thankful to her own mother, who passed away last year, for showing them all how to care and love.
"She knew I could do it. She knew it. That the kids would be safe with me. This is where they wanted to be," Smith said.
The Crenshaw siblings now get to spend time together learning how to play instruments, playing games and enjoying all that life has to over.
While nearly two dozen children will celebrate their new families on Thursday, Martinez-Jones said there are still about 280 children in Central Texas hoping to get adopted. To learn more about how to get involved in fostering, adopting or volunteering, visit the Department of Family and Protective Services' website.
Each week, KVUE also highlights a child in the foster care system up for adoption. Visit KVUE.com/foreverfamilies to learn more.
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