“Anyone who ever wondered how much they could love a child who did not spring from their own loins, know this: it is the same. The feeling of love is so profound, it’s incredible and surprising.” Nia Vardalos, Instant Mom
November is, in so many ways, a month to celebrate family. It fosters opportunity, carved out in our busy day-to-day lives to reflect on and enjoy time with those who matter most. And with the Thanksgiving holiday increasingly seen as, perhaps, the most family oriented of all major domestic holidays, it is of no surprise that November has been designated as National Adoption Month. Perhaps then, it is only natural that every November family and juvenile courts throughout the United States take time to celebrate and embrace a day that is truly like no other-National Adoption Day.
Just as the calendar revolves around the Christmas holiday for children throughout the United States, family law practitioners, judges and court employees eagerly await National Adoption Day. That’s because this is a day where business as usual gives way to what can only be described as the most joyous of occasions for those in our line of work. Finalizing an adoption on any day represents the very best of what the family court has to offer-it is literally bringing families together. And National Adoption Day is a day set aside and dedicated to celebrating this momentous and life altering event. And for me, it remains one of the most enduring and fondest memories from my time in law school.
During my second year of law school I had the opportunity and privilege of working as an intern for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. I accepted the internship, in truth, because it meant significant exposure to court. That said, when my supervisor asked me if I would appear for National Adoption Day, I admit to being less than enthused. At the time I had, what I believed to be, much more important matters on my plate and the thought of committing a full-day to serve as a sort of glorified master of ceremonies was unappealing. However, as a law student I was, fortunately, not in a position to say no and, as such, I accepted. Little did I know that doing so would turn out to be one of the best decisions I made throughout law school.
I honestly cannot remember exactly how many adoptions I participated in that day, it was anywhere between 15 and 20. It began with everyone gathered in one of the larger courtrooms. Just outside of the courtroom were rows of tables filled with gifts donated by various organizations, as well as festivities such as face painting for children-and in some instances attorneys. Inside the courtroom the First Justice of the Juvenile Court gave a speech and then turned the floor to one of the Court Officers who had himself, years earlier, been adopted. In a speech that brought even the most stoic of New Englanders to tears, this Officer spoke eloquently about finding his “forever family” and about the fraternal bond that all of the soon to be adoptees would forever have not only with their “forever families,” but also with each other. What happened throughout the remainder of the day cemented my commitment to family law.
I spoke briefly to each family before introducing them all to the Court and procedurally requesting that the adoption be approved and finalized. The children, particularly the little ones, could not contain their excitement. A lot of tears were shed as families were given legal recognition by the court. Everything about this day represented the very best of what we are as human beings. Though my role in all of that was certainly ancillary, I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to share in that moment as forever families were officially formed. And the following year, I volunteered.
Whether you are already in the process of adopting your forever child, or are simply exploring the possibility, please know that the attorneys at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC, are well-versed in adoption law and we are here to help. If you would like to contact our office about scheduling a consultation please click here.