A young Michigan boy officially has a new family, just in time for the holidays. On Thursday morning the kindergarten student celebrated the special occasion with his entire class there for support.
WZZM13 reports that the adoption hearing for Michael Orlando Clark Jr. was a part of the city’s annual Adoption Day in Kent County. The event, which has been taking place for 23 years, is organized by the area’s circuit court. Along with Michael, a total of 36 children formally received new homes.
During the hearing for Michael, each one of his classmates received an opportunity to say something nice about their friend. They also told the judge their reason for being there. Michael’s teacher explains the gesture boils down to family.
“We began the school year as a family,” she told WZZM13. “Family doesn’t have to be DNA, because family is support and love.”
Michael’s classmates further demonstrated that by holding up hearts on a stick during the 30-minute hearing alotted for the 5-year-old and every other child being adopted that day. Once the gavel banged to make the adoption official for Michael — who was formally adopted by foster parents Andrea Melvin and Dave Eaton, reporters say the courtroom erupted in applause.
“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,” Honorable Judge Patricia Gardner told reporters.
“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.'”
A caption posted to Kent County, Michigan’s page summed up the emotion in the courtroom on Thursday, saying, “37 children are being lovingly and officially welcomed by their families. There is not a dry eye in Judge Patricia Gardner’s courtroom.”