August 27, 2019

Austin Bar’s Pro Bono Committee Steps in to Finalize Adoption for Local Family

Dying Father’s Wish Fulfilled for His Three Children

In the summer of 2018, a story ran in a number of local news outlets about Glendon Booth, a single father of three who had terminal cancer.  A community of parents from Small Middle school had been contributing to the family with a GoFundMe account, and decided to help them celebrate Christmas in July so they could spend one last holiday together.  The heart-touching story caught the eye of the Austin Bar Association because it mentioned the Booths needed legal help to get the father’s affairs in order.

The newly-formed Pro Bono Committee quickly reached out to the family and offered its assistance. Booth was in hospice care and didn’t have a will. Caitlin Haney Johnston of the CANLAW Clinic drafted a will and was literally driving to hospice with the papers for Booth’s signature when he passed away.

Knowing the family was unable to pay for a service, Denise Hyde, Austin Bar member and long-time chair of the Adoption Day committee, contacted Rodney Molitor, president of Cook-Walden Funeral Homes and Cemeteries. Molitor and Cook-Walden have long been the major donor and supporter of the Austin Bar’s annual Adoption Day event. When he learned about the family’s struggles, he arranged to not only donate a memorial service, but a burial plot as well.

Before he passed away, Booth had made his wishes for his children’s future clearly known.  He wanted family friend Jennifer Hidrogo to adopt them. Hyde quickly stepped in to make it happen. For over a year, she has worked on this case, first handling a separate suit that terminated the mother’s parental rights, and then filing for adoption.   According to Hyde, “The father’s express wishes for his children had been for them to be with Jennifer Hidrogo.  Jenni is a wonderful woman, selfless and nurturing, and she loves these children and they love her.”

On Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, the adoption was finalized by Judge Karin Crump of the 250th Civil District Court.  The adoption celebration was attended by guardian ad litem Bertha Cruz-Gaede of the Travis County Domestic Relations Office (who waived their fees for this case) and Brian Gosher, General Manager of the Cook-Walden Funeral Home that handled Booth’s service.   The children carried a framed photograph of their father at the proceeding.

CLICK HERE to read the Austin American Statesman article from Aug. 25, 2019.

 

 

Jennifer Hidrogo and her new children with Judge Karin Crump.

 

The Higrogo family, with Judge Karin Crump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bertha Cruz-Caede, guardian ad litem,, and Denise Hyde, attorney, with the Hidrogos and Judge Crump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Gosher of Cook-Walder Funeral Homes with the Hidrogos and Judge Crump.