A Michigan kindergartner decided that he wanted his entire class to witness his adoption hearing. What happened next in an adorable courtroom scene will warm the cockles of your heart. The event also marked Kent County’s annual Adoption Day, where 37 children were given permanent parents.
Michael Clark Jr. had a huge crowd of supporters from Wealthy Elementary in East Grand Rapids. His classmates held up hearts on sticks to celebrate his big day. Andrea Melvin and Dave Eaton were also in attendance, they became Michael’s foster parents about a year ago. On Thursday, they would become his forever parents.
As it was also Adoption Day and there was quite a crowd beyond his peers and new parents. The Adoptive Family Support Network, Post Adoption Resource Center, Cops Fore Kids, Grand Rapids Police Department, Hug-A-Bear, and RJ from Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Canine Unit all participated in the special day.
But there was a special guest who towered above the rest of the attendees: Santa Claus took from his busy holiday schedule to greet each family and child.
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The hearings were a formal procedure to finalize their adoptions. The court gave each family a 30-minute hearing to celebrate the end of the process, local ABC affiliate WHAS reported.
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kent County, one of the sponsors of Adoption Day, congratulated the boy with its own social media post.
“It’s adoption day at the courthouse — the BEST day of the year!” the nonprofit wrote. “Congratulations to Michael and his family . . . so cool that his entire class came to support him!”
Michael’s new forever parents talked with the local news about the special day and how it had come to be.
“We were thinking, ‘How can we build our family?’” Melvin said before her new rambunctious kindergarten-age son cut in.
“I love my Mommy!” Michael said.
“And there’s so many options, right, for building a family these days,” Melvin continued.
Michael has gained a very large family.
“I understand we are joined by Michael’s kindergarten classroom and teacher,” Gardner announced from the bench as Michael’s adoption came up.
The kids may not realize it, but they were part of a special lesson you won’t find in any textbook.
“The lesson is put a little love in your heart. We rise when we support others,” said their teacher, Kerry McKee, who has had an obvious effect on Michael.
“I love Mrs. McKee,” Michael said.
“He loves Mrs. McKee,” his dad Dave Eaton agreed. “We asked him and he said, ‘You know, the class is kind of my family.’ And he wanted them to be there.”
“Welcome to the courthouse on this amazing day,” 17th Circuit Court Family Division Judge Patricia Gardner as she opened a hearing during the Kent County court’s annual Adoption Day Thursday.
Thirty-seven children, all coming from the foster care system, were adopted. There wasn’t a dry eye in the courthouse.
“That’s so true,” Gardner said. “On Adoption Day, there’s so many emotional stories of how children come to families.”
“There is not a dry eye on Judge Patricia Gardner’s courtroom,” Kent County officials wrote in a separate Facebook post.
There is not a dry eye at my keyboard as well. I was adopted, but I don’t remember the event as I was a baby. I do remember an incredible life with loving parents and grandparents, as well as aunts, uncles and cousins. Of course, there is my little sister. It was a very special blessed gift!
Adoption is a beautiful thing.