As I stood outside the courtroom anticipating my clients’ arrival through the elevator doors, the narrow corridor filled with happily boisterous babies, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles arriving for adoption hearings. We were all corralled together as the families waited to appear, one by one, before the judge, who would sign the judgments making their parent-child relationships official.
Among the crowd, two toddler-age baby girls, one black and one white, wearing hip dresses and boots, moved freely around the adults, with the mini-Frankenstein stride of new walkers. Their mom handed her black daughter a sign that read: “I am loved so much I am being adopted.” While the cell phone cameras clicked, the baby posed alone and with her relatives who were eager to record the momentous day.
After the photo shoot, I approached the toddlers’ mother and remarked, “Your daughters are adorable! May I ask you about your adoption story?”
She replied, “We became foster parents for our daughter at seven weeks of age when she was released from the neonatal intensive care unit. At the same time, I discovered that I was three months pregnant, and that’s how I have two little girls the same age. We have a wonderful relationship with our daughter’s birth grandmother and siblings, but we waited well over a year for the termination of the birth parents’ rights. We are so thrilled to be adopting her at long last!”
I walked back to where I had been standing next to the court officer at the far end of the hall. He and I began to chat and I told him the story of the two baby girls.
As his eyes filled with tears, he confided, “I can’t believe how emotional I am getting! I usually work in the part of the Family Court dealing with very sad neglect and abuse cases. I didn’t realize how much joy adoption can bring!”
What a fitting way to begin November, National Adoption Month.