Adopting a child is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever been a part of. Every time I walk clients through the process, I am reminded at the final hearing what a beautiful experience it is. A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the presiding court room in Bexar County witnessing a family adopting a beautiful child and giving them their forever home. To my left sat an older attorney who was there handling a matter for one of his divorce clients. When I first saw him, he looked tired and grumpy. Frankly, he looked downright miserable. As we sat watching this adoption proceeding begin, he leaned forward to another lawyer and whispered (not quietly), “This is the only good thing that ever happens in a court room.” As the proceeding finished and the Judge proclaimed this new family and reminded the new Dad that he couldn’t change his mind when the little girl started driving or dating, this attorney to my left began to smile. For a moment, this family brought happiness to a courtroom that is usually filled with anger, disdain and sorrow.
As they walked out, another set of lawyers walked up to the Judge’s bench and business returned to normal. However, for a moment, everyone in that courtroom shared in the beauty of what had just taken place.
Then it was time for my clients and I to step up. We had the opportunity to brighten the courtroom again. We were there with a family choosing to formalize a relationship that had been there unofficially for years. In this case, Stepmom was losing the “Step” title. She had married her husband when his children were very young. They had called her “Mom” for years, but they all wanted it to be official. Mom expressed her desire to the court to adopt these children and both adult children expressed their desire to be adopted. Their family finally had the legal relationship that they had felt for years. For this family, they now felt complete. Once again, we lined up for pictures with the Judge and turned around to see a courtroom full of smiles and even a few tears of joy.
I have found that every adoption proceeding brings delight to the courtroom. I still get choked up thinking about the adoptions I have been a part of and the hugs in the courtroom. I get excited and sometimes forget that I am supposed to be asking questions and being professional as I interview clients in front of the Judge. Whether it is a stepparent formalizing a bond that has been there for years, an infant who has just been blessed with a new family, a grandparent adopting their grandchild or a couple who had raised a son as their own adopting this thirty-year-old man who told them that all he wanted for Christmas this year was to finally be adopted, the adoption proceedings are always beautiful and always a joy to be part of.