Five adoptive families and the children who are now part of those families joined in a festive and joyous celebration Thursday morning at the Brown County Courthouse to commemorate National Adoption Awareness Month.

The celebration began in the filled-to-overflowing, balloon-decorated 35th District Courtroom as Cheryll Mabray, associate judge of the Child Protection Court of the Hill Country, presided over the adoptions of the five children.

The newly joined families, friends and child adoption representatives gathered a short time later at the steps of the south entrance of the Brown County Courthouse for a balloon release.

Thousands of children in Texas foster care ask themselves, "Why not me? Why can't I have a family?" the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said in a press release.

Last year, more than 5,400 children got the answer they were looking for when they were adopted into their own forever family, but the quest continues for more homes and more children who are still waiting for a home of their own. More than 6,800 children in the care of the State of Texas are waiting to be adopted. 

Older children tend to linger even longer in foster care, so this November, which is National Adoption Awareness Month, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is asking caring adults “Why not you? Why not adopt an older child?” 

There are many events this month all across the state that will put the spotlight on the many children waiting for a permanent family.

More Texas children were adopted from state care last year than ever before. In fact, the number of children adopted from state care increased 62 percent over the last decade, but the need for safe and loving homes actually increased by 35 percent during the same period. 

 "We've made great strides getting children adopted, but Texas is growing fast and the need for safe, permanent homes is greater than ever,” said DFPS Commissioner John Specia. "If you can help, please get involved in making a child's dream come true."

Texas needs adoptive parents for children of all ages. Some of these children have special medical, physical, or emotional needs. The one thing they all have in common is the need for a forever family, the press release states.

Visit AdoptChildren.org. for more information on becoming an adoptive parent.