JEFFERSON COUNTY, Texas — November is national adoption awareness month, and today is the day that most children and families look forward to the most.
Judges witness families becoming one and others got to witness the joy first hand as several children went home with a new home and people to call family.
"I think I look forward to this just about any other time," Judge Randy Shelton said. "Judges don't get to do good things for good people all of the time."
On Friday, court was in session for a good matter. The only thing on Judge Randy Shelton's agenda was getting children to their new homes with their new forever families, helping adoptive children and parents become one.
Judge Shelton played Santa as he did the formal ceremony for children being brought into their forever homes.
"Ordinarily, we'll have a large group of people come together, decorate the halls, and everyone wears costumes," he said.
But adoption day in 2020 came with a twist with social distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This year was a little different, of course," he said. "Everyone is participating in the proceedings using Zoom."
With the power of technology, Jefferson County finalized adoptions for ten kids into six families.
"This year, we're each family their own little Zoom invite," he said.
For the last 20 years, Jefferson County judges have worked to change the narrative for kids who are in foster care. Despite current circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge Shelton said the show must go on.
"Just like the post office — snow, sleet, rain, pandemic — it doesn't matter, when they are ready for those adoptions, we're going to put those adoptions on," he said.
Even if this means stepping into full Santa attire, Judge Shelton said each year, he looks forward to bringing joy to children and families.
"Even today, one of the attorneys got a little emotional — they can't help but be moved by this special occasion," he said. "We're creating new families."
These are families that will last for a lifetime, thanks to Santa.