It was a joyous day at the Jefferson County Courthouse on November 17th. Eighteen kids were adopted, ranging in age from 1 to 16. For a special touch, the courthouse was decorated like the Wizard of Oz. The children got to walk down a yellow brick road to the “Mayor of Munchkin City,” otherwise known as Judge Larry Thorne of the 317th District Court.

One of the teens adopted that day was 16-year-old Anthony. He was adopted by Bennie Berry, his former teacher at Pathways Learning Center in Beaumont, Texas. The pair had known each other for several months when Anthony asked Ms. Berry to adopt him. Berry told People, “During a conversation I had with students about family, some of the kids made comments that I should take them home since a lot of them refer to me as a caregiver. But Anthony turned to me and said I could take him home, for real. That’s when he told me he was a foster kid and was up for adoption.”

Anthony was placed in foster care when he was 9 years old. He hadn’t wanted to be adopted until he met her. He wants others to know that it’s never too late to look for your forever family. “If you have ever thought about adoption or didn’t want to be adopted, actually try it cause you never know,” Anthony said. “Take into consideration that someone that doesn’t love you, there is always someone that will love you.”

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services reports 5,395 kids have been adopted in 2017. If you are interested in adoption and want to learn more, visit The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange is helping match children in foster care with adoptive families. Photo listings are available and updated daily. The website also has resources to help provide foster homes to children who are unaccompanied refugee minors.