Five-year-old Michael wanted to share the happiest day of his life with his friends and invited his kindergarten class to be part of and witness his legal adoption into his new family, and the whole world, after the fact.
Michael Orlando Clarke Jr of Michigan, after a formal hearing at Kent County Court, became a legal member of his new family this past Thursday.
The children in the public gallery of the court waved hearts on sticks throughout Michael’s hearing, bringing a positive and festive feel to the courtroom. During the proceedings, the kids were asked to introduce themselves and explain why they were at the court.
Presiding Judge Patricia Gardner seemed to enjoy every minute as much as Michael and his friends evidently did:
Best friend, Steven, simply confirmed: “Michael is my best friend.”
Another said: “My name is Lily and I love Michael.”
And their teacher said: “We began the school year as a family. Family doesn’t have to be DNA, because family is support and love.”
The courtroom erupted into cheers and applause for the new family when the gavel came down to officially end the proceedings.
Thursday was Kent County court’s Adoption Day and a total of 37 children in total legally joined their adopted families on the day.
Judge Gardener, wearing a special Christmas decoration necklace for the occasion, told ABC 13’s On Your Side: “Sometimes their journeys have been very long.
“They’ve included miracle and change for the children and family, and incredible community support – as you’re able to see today in Michael’s adoption hearing.”
She continued: “His whole kindergarten class and school being here to say ‘we love you,’ and ‘we support you’ and ‘we’ll be here not only today, but in all the years in the future’.”
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