November is National Adoption Month, and nine local families adopting a total of 11 children took part in Liberty County’s annual Adoption Day on Monday, Nov. 21. This year marks the first year for the Liberty County Child Welfare Board and Children’s Protective Services to host a formal day of adoptions since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Held at the Liberty Center in Liberty City Hall, the adoption ceremony was just in time for Thanksgiving, giving the children and their families even more reasons to be grateful this holiday season.
For Carly Sager of Plum Grove, the day was the fulfillment of a dream of becoming a mother. Sager and her husband, Michael, adopted two biological sisters, Nova and Lucy, ages 2 and 1.
“We have been trying to start a family for a while. God kind of led us on this journey. We had kind of given up. Then we got a call about these two little girls, and we said yes to being their foster parents,” Sager said. “It was definitely a God thing. It has been a miracle every step of the way. We weren’t even sure about going through the foster care system, but God led us to it and said, ‘These are your girls.'”
While becoming foster parents was a challenging process with home visits, background checks, applications and reference checks, Sager wholeheartedly recommends it to people who are interested in adoption.
“We know it doesn’t always end up this way, but there are so many babies out there who need someone to love them whether it’s for a short time or a lifetime,” Sager said. “It was daunting to get started, but it was so worth it.”
The Sager family was surrounded by family members and fellow members of Plum Grove Family Worship Center as they pledged to be the forever home for the two beautiful girls. Sager said they plan to raise the children in church and in the country. The CASA caseworker told Judge John Lockwood, who presided over the adoptions, that the Sagers have everything that is needed to provide a good childhood for the children.
“We got the better end of the bargain,” Sager told Bluebonnet News later by phone. At the time, she was still adjusting to her new title of “Mom.”
“God took our tragedy and turned it into something beautiful. I felt like my heart was in ashes at times when we hadn’t been able to conceive. Then God used those ashes and created the most beautiful family for us,” she said. “This is going to be the best Thanksgiving of our lives. Michael and I have already decorated for Christmas, too, because we want it to be the best Christmas for our little girls.”
For Breanna Russell of Crosby, the road to motherhood went through tragedy with the loss of her mother, Colleen Rindfuss, in a car crash in 2021. At the time of her passing, Rindfuss was the legal guardian of her granddaughter, Rylie, born to Rindfuss’ eldest son who had lost custody.
“CPS got involved early on. My mom took Rylie home from the hospital and was going to raise her. I was in college at the time at Texas Tech and would live with my mother in Crosby when I was home from college,” Russell said. “Crazy enough, my mom and I had a conversation about a month before her death and she asked me if I would take Rylie if anything ever happened to her. I said yes.”
A month after graduating from Texas Tech, Russell lived up to her promise when her mother was killed. While adoption wasn’t initially in her plans for her early 20s, Russell said it was an adjustment she was willing to make.
“You don’t realize a lot of things until you have a kid. It’s not about me anymore. It’s about her and what’s best for her. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Russell said.
Working as a project engineer for a Houston-based construction company, Russell makes a good living and can support her daughter.
“My hopes for her is that she grows up and has the opportunities of every other kid. Whatever she wants to do, she can do it. I want to give her a stable family life with lots of love. I want her to grow up strong and healthy,” Russell said.
When asked what her mom would say about the adoption, Russell said, “She would be so proud.”
Prior to the adoptions before Judge Lockwood, Latasha Hickman, a regional director for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, welcomed all the families to adoption day.
“Adoption is one of the greatest blessings in the world because you have chosen to give a child a home and to become a family. The juror to today has been filled with love, joy, struggles, laughter, and tears, and that is just going through the licensing process,” Hickman said jokingly. “Today we are here to witness and celebrate 11 little people officially become your families.”
Liberty County Judge Jay Knight read a commissioners court proclamation recognizing November as Adoption Month in Liberty County.
“This is my favorite day of the year – National Adoption Day. I wish we could celebrate it a lot more often. The courthouse is across the street, and I am sure most of you have been there. Things go on in the courthouse – some good, some not so good. Some things that affect families in good ways and bad ways. There are trials – sometimes those are good and sometimes not. Probates, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Weddings, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but adoption day is always good. It’s the best day. It’s all the more reason, with Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, to be thankful. Count your blessings. The Good Lord blesses us every day whether we realize it or not,” said Knight.
Nearly all of the adopted children, or at least the ones who willing, wore superhero capes that were provided by organizers of the event. Little Liam Hoover, the son of Brandy and Keith Hoover, wore a shirt under his cape that said, “I am a keeper.” Seeing all of the superhero costumes and capes among the crowd, Knight said, “We have a lot of superheroes in the room today. Do you know who the true superheroes are? Y’all for taking up and providing for these children. God bless you all and may God bless you on this Thanksgiving coming up and throughout the holiday season as we celebrate the birth of our savior and lord, Jesus Christ.”