In the wake of current social distancing measures, connecting digitally has become a priority for many. Today, technology helped complete a forever family when the Smiths met with attorneys, Buckner and a Lubbock County judge on a Zoom conference call to complete their adoption of 15-month-old Khailynn.
The Honorable Kelley Tesch presided at the historic "first virtual adoption in Lubbock County" live on YouTube early today. The family, judge, lawyers, Child Protective Services workers and Buckner staff were all able to participate through the Zoom app. The move to perform adoptions remotely was in accordance with Lubbock County’s public health orders to limit social gatherings and practice social distancing.
Parents Rusty and Whitney Smith of Lubbock and their new daughter Khailynn even donned matching shirts that read, “I stole their hearts, now I’m stealing their last name,” to mark the occasion. The matching shirts spanned much further than the Smith home.
“We are grateful for everybody that’s been with us throughout – the prayers, everything,” Rusty said.
The Smiths have been licensed Buckner foster parents since October 2018. Whitney, while working as a nurse, was given information about Buckner and the foster care program through one of her patients. The couple had faced infertility issues but felt called to become parents.
Through their journey of becoming a foster-to-adopt family, they saw they could help other families as well. After three different foster placements, 6-month-old Khailynn became the Smiths’ fourth. To Whitney and Rusty, every placement holds a special place in their heart, even if each one was only for a season.
“Every placement we thought we would adopt – so it broke our hearts when they left," he said. "But we are grateful we’ve made it this far and, luckily, we are still able to keep in contact with the other families, so that’s a blessing."
The Smiths are ecstatic to experience their first adoption, "very grateful to their support system" and everyone who collaborated to make the adoption possible digitally.
“Had this terrible virus not come about, the courtroom would be very full of everyone wearing these shirts,” Rusty shared.
Khailynn has been able to thrive while in the Smiths’ home. A little girl described as "full of fun and joy" completed her journey to become part of a forever family today – with the ceremonial strike of Judge Tesch’s gavel.