In July Of 1877, R.C. Buckner called together a group of individuals to consider what they would do to meet the growing needs of widows and orphans in Texas. Sitting under the shade of a spreading oak tree, Dr. Buckner spoke with passion to the small group concerning the need for an orphan’s home in North Texas.
Dr. Buckner led the group in collecting $27 that day to fund his dream. Two years later, in December of 1879, "Buckner Orphans Home" opened its doors to three children in need, becoming the first orphanage west of the Mississippi River. Hailing as the second oldest continuously operating company in Dallas, Buckner has served the specialized needs of children for generations.
Originally, the mission was to provide children whose families had been shattered by war, poverty, disease, and other circumstances with a place to live, learn, grow, and be loved. In earlier years, as many as 850 children lived on the East Dallas campus, as did a number of senior adults who lacked the means to provide for themselves.
Throughout its history, Buckner has been on the cutting edge of serving the needs of children and families in society experiencing challenging life situations. That willingness to grow and adapt to change has made Buckner a leader in issues related to social care throughout Texas and the United States. It has also meant expanding into a wide array of programs and services.
What began as a home for orphans and a refuge for widows has now grown into the statewide and international ministries known as Buckner International, serving more than 130,000 people each year in more than 50 countries.
The earliest record of adoption services provided by Buckner was dated 1884. Full records are on file for those adoptions facilitated since the forties. Through the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s Buckner continued placing children, mostly infants, with Christian families. In 1995, Buckner began international adoption services and in 2002 became partners with the State of Texas to place thousands of children waiting in foster care into permanent families.