Declaring the month of November as National Adoption Month in Grayson County on Tuesday was a personal issue for Grayson County Judge Bill Magers.

“For those of you who may not be aware,” Magers said, “I am adopted. My whole family is adopted.”

Glenda Ritchie, a member of the Grayson County Child Welfare Board, told the court about the Footsteps to Forever Walk the group had held the previous weekend, which they intend to hold as an annual event.

“The purpose of the walk was just to feature these children (who are available for adoption),” Ritchie said. “And to also promote adoption in our community in a unique way.”

She said more than 200 people took part in the event and each person was given a card with the photo and statistical facts about a particular child in the system.

On Nov. 15, Grayson County will celebrate National Adoption Day and 11 of the county’s 53 children who are awaiting adoption will become legal members of their new families.

“All of these kids are deserving,” Grayson County Child Welfare Board President Mark Teague said as he talked about a group of photos the commissioners could see on a poster Ritchie held.

Most of the children on the poster were older than the babies or toddlers many people associate with adoptions. Magers said his brother was 12 years old when adopted. Teague said the older kids often want to be adopted the most. If they’re not adopted, children in the foster care system simply “age out” of government care and are left largely to their own devices to find employment, housing and to try to start their adult lives.

Teague said one in every 25 families in the country who have children have an adopted child. He said 135,000 children are adopted in the U.S. every year.

“The United States adopts more kids than anywhere else,” he said.