For attorney Gaven Norris and his law firm, they want to make sure the day a person becomes officially part of a new family is special.
To help celebrate the momentous occasion, the Norris Law Firm recently started doing theme parties for adoption day events and this week, it’ll be having its second one of the year.
The event is scheduled Friday at its office as 17 children will become, officially, a part of 13 families.
“We do a large portion of adoptions over here in Ector County,” Norris said. “We normally average somewhere between 20 to 30 adoptions a year and that’s in the Permian Basin area. We do so many adoptions that the court has actually given us a date for our adoptions and also because of the way that we do them.”
Norris said his law firm decided to do an adoption day because they want to make sure every family had a day to remember the occasion.
“I wanted to make sure that every kid felt they were loved and that if they were ever in a situation where they didn’t feel they were loved or the best of themselves, they could always look back on this day and know that on this day, they were loved and going into the arms of someone that cares about them.” Norris said. “That’s how we started these adoptions and doing them the way that we do them and make them special and make it a day filled with love. We call it homecoming because that’s what it is. Kids are coming home to open arms and someone wants to love them and love them for the rest of their lives.”
It wasn’t long before they decided to do a celebration with a festive atmosphere.
“We normally do a series of adoptions,” Norris said. “There are no less than five adoptions that we’ll do at a time, mostly in Ector County.”
Last December, they added themes to the celebration.
“The Great Gatsby was our first one where everyone dressed up in great Gatsby attire,” Norris said. “That was a cool deal.”
The firm’s first adoption day for this year came just two months ago on Mother’s Day.
“The court allowed us to do a special Mother’s Day adoption day so we did a theme of 80s movies,” Norris said. “Each family had a special theme. One was karate kid. The others were Coming to America, Ghostbusters and Top Gun. We got dressed up in outfits and did five adoptions that day. We’re now scheduled for 13 adoptions on this adoption day. Normally, it’s a four-five hour event. There’s food and photography. Each family gets their own special shirts made for the adoption day.”
With the Summer Olympics now up and running in Tokyo after a year-long delay due to the pandemic, Norris said they will be doing an Olympic-themed adoption day this week.
“When we start planning, we look at our theme and it dawned on us that the Olympics were starting,” Norris said. “It was perfect to have an Olympic theme. Everything we do will have an Olympic theme from torches to decorations to food. We’ll have Olympic themed food.”
It’s a day of celebrating but it’s also an important one for all of the families involved and the idea to mark the day where the adoption becomes official comes from a philosophy from Norris.
“We try to make it a special day,” Norris said. “My philosophy on adoptions is that: if you were to birth a child, you would have a baby shower, invite all of your friends and families. It’s a special event. The adoptions for us are the equivalent of a birth. We want each family to look back on this and remember the love that they felt on this very special day.”
Each family has a different story on how they are taking custody.
“Some are people where the kids come through CPS and they’re doing an adoption through that,” Norris said. “They come to us after the parents’ rights have been terminated and we’re doing the last part of it. Some of them are stepdads or stepmoms who want to adopt the kid(s) for one reason or another. Some of them are people who are not parents. They may be grandparents or family members who have been raising these children as their own and want to make it official. I think on this day, we even have an adult adoption where an adult will be adopted by her stepdad.”
Norris said they did a couple of adoption days last fall, doing a total of 11 adoptions.
“This year, it’s grown because of the success of last year,” Norris said. “Our first one (for this year) was in May and we did five … We actually have another six or seven adoptions that we’ll be doing before the end of the year.”
One of the families that will be celebrating will be the Diaz family where Marisha Diaz’s son Maddox (5) will be officially adopted in by her husband Eric Diaz.
“For me, it means the world for me. I get a chance to officially make Maddox my son,” Eric said. “It’s great. Gaven and his law firm and the judges are setting up this event not just for our family but for other families to showcase what these kids mean to us.”
For them, Friday will be one to always remember.
“We’re looking forward to it with friends and family,” Eric said. “It’s a special day. We’ll all never forget it.”
It’s one that Norris and his associates don’t forget either.
“This is the highlight of what we do,” Norris said. “We do everything regarding family law so we deal with some things that are not always pleasant. In addition to this, I’m also the attorney for the crisis center. We deal with the trauma and abuse and sad situations and traumatic events involving kids and families so this is one of the things that we do that is a highlight of what we do and some of the best memories that I have as an attorney come from this.”