This Unique Adoption Hearing Left The Judge In Tears

Adoption is one of the most amazing things on this planet, but there was one adoption hearing that stood out among the rest. This moment was so unique that even the judge couldn’t hold back from shedding tears. The special day was not only thanks to the willing couple who changed a child’s life, but also because of a teacher’s act. Read on to learn why one young boy’s adoption hearing was so emotional that it left the courtroom in tears.

A Loving Couple

Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

David Eaton and Andrea Melvin said “I do” in 2010, but they weren’t in a rush to have children. The loving couple came to realize that their ultimate goal was to adopt.

After several years together, it became clear that their bond was strong enough to bring another person into their home. They couldn’t wait to share their love with a child in need. The process would be a long one, but it would be so worth it.

They First Became Foster Parents

adoption-17
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

The first order of business in David and Andrea’s journey to parenthood was to become certified foster care parents. They went through a thorough training process that would help ensure that they were ready for what they were getting into.

Even after preparing for a child, they couldn’t know for sure that this was the right choice for them until they experienced fostering. After all, they didn’t know who they would get or what the child’s specific needs would be.

Waiting To Become Foster Parents

adoption-16
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

Once the couple was certified and legally able to foster, it became a waiting game. Just because they were able to foster a child didn’t mean that they would get to right away.

A child would need to be placed in their custody, which meant that they simply had to wait for that meaningful phone call. Whoever it was that came to live with them had the potential to change their lives forever. Talk about anticipation!

They Had The Best Of Intentions

prepared
shutter_hunter/Unsplash
shutter_hunter/Unsplash

Though David and Andrea had no idea who would be placed into their custody, they were sure that going through this process was what they were meant to do. The couple wanted nothing more than to provide a safe and loving environment for a child.

They couldn’t know what exactly the child would need in terms of trauma recovery. Though they felt that adoption was their calling, they had to be sure they could live up to the challenge.

The Moment They Had Been Waiting For

adoption-13
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

Waiting to see who they would be placed with was nerve-wracking, but then they got that important call. David and Andrea were told about a four-year-old boy named Michael who would be available to come live with them.

The future parents realized that this was the moment they had been waiting for. At the same time, they still couldn’t be sure that this was the child they would ultimately adopt. Only time would tell if Michael was meant to be their son.

They Fell For Michael Right Away

adoption-5
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

The day that would change David and Andrea’s lives forever finally came. The moment they met Michael, they knew that they had made the right decision. David said, “It was pretty clear right off the bat that he was a really special kid.”

Despite Michael’s challenging early years, he was full of charisma and was a joy to be around. The couple began to realize that they could foresee this child becoming a permanent part of the family.

Michael Was A Social Butterfly At School

adoption-11
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

Though Michael clicked with David and Andrea, that was only half the battle. The couple didn’t know how their foster care child would act around his peers. The ultimate test came when it was time for Michael to go to kindergarten.

To their relief, the young boy was a social butterfly! He made tons of friends and got along great with other kids his age. It was starting to become clear that David and Andrea were the ones who lucked out.

Parenthood Quickly Became Hectic

running
jammette/Unsplash
jammette/Unsplash

As incredible as Michael was, he was still a little kid. All of his rambunctious energy was something the couple had to adjust to. David told CNN that since they didn’t have kids before, “things got pretty chaotic in a hurry.”

Like any new parents, David and Andrea found that their lives had completely changed before their eyes. All of a sudden, they were responsible for someone else and they had so much to learn.

Michael Was Afraid Of Having To Leave

Michael walk
acasetta/Unsplash
acasetta/Unsplash

As lighthearted and playful as Michael could be, there was one thing that worried him. The young child was afraid of having to go to a new home. The more time he spent with the Eatons, the more he wanted to stay with them.

Like many foster children, Michael was aware of how powerless he was over his situation. Fear of being forced to go to yet another home weighed on his mind, and his foster parents took notice.

A Life-Changing Decision

adoption-12
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

Michael’s fears prompted the couple to think seriously about extending their family permanently. After almost a year of fostering Michael, they knew it was time to legally adopt him.

David and Andrea knew they wanted to have a child, and Michael was a perfect fit for their family. They knew they had to make sure they could stand up to the task, and now they knew with absolute certainty. Michael was their son, and it was time to make it official.

Michael’s Loving Class

adoption-8
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

One thing that stood out about Michael was his love and appreciation for his fellow classmates. David and Andrea had seen him make major strides over the months, especially when it was time to go to kindergarten.

The Michigan school he attended was Wealthy Elementary School, and Michaels’s class was full of other lovely children. Michael loved his classmates so much that he considered them a part of the family. The adoption meant he would get to keep his parents, and his beloved friends, too.

Michael’s Teacher Came Up With A Heartfelt Plan

adoption-10
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

One of the reasons Michael’s class was so welcoming to the young boy was because of their wonderful teacher, Kerry McKee. The kindergarten teacher always taught all of her students to spread love and kindness.

The kindergarten teacher proved that she practices what she preaches when she came up with a special plan for Michael. Knowing how special Michael’s classmates are to him, she wanted to somehow arrange for the entire class to be at his adoption hearing.

There Was A Ton Of Planning To Do

marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Kerry had a lot to do if she wanted to pull off this field trip to Michael’s adoption hearing. Her list of tasks began with asking his parents if they were okay with it. She mentioned it to Andrea one day when she was dropping Michael off.

Andrea was touched and happy to approve the plan. Next, Kerry had to get permission from each of the students’ parents and figure out how she was going to handle the transportation.

The Majority Of The Parents Offered To Help Out

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Considering how kind Michael’s classmates had been, it’s no surprise that their parents were by and large also wonderful people. Not only did they allow their children to attend the special field trip, but many of them offered to help out.

Of the 23 parents Kerry spoke with, a whopping 14 offered to take the day off of work to be a part of Michael’s important day. Still, Kerry knew it would be best to have everyone travel in a school bus rather than taking individual cars.

The Bus Driver Offered To Drive Them For Free

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

When Kerry first contacted the bus garage, they informed her that she was too short on notice to reserve a driver. That’s when Kerry explained what the field trip would consist of and why she was doing it in the first place.

After hearing Kerry’s heartwarming plan, the bus driver couldn’t help but offer to drive for free! On the special day, 18 kindergarteners, 14 parents, and staff from the school boarded the bus to attend Michael’s adoption hearing.

The Children Showed Support With Heart Signs

adoption-4
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

It was very important to Kerry that the class show their support for Michael. The teacher said, “I always tell my students that you rise when you lift others, and that’s what we did with Michael.”

To display their love and support, the students made red hearts out of construction paper and taped them to the tops of rulers. They proudly held their love signs in the air during the hearing, a sight that the judge had never seen in a courtroom.

They Showered Michael With Compliments

adoption-9
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

If the signs weren’t heartwarming enough, the students also had kind words to say during the hearing. The judge asked everyone to say what Michael meant to them. Their responses tugged on everyone’s heartstrings.

David told CNN that the children stood up to say things like “I love Michael” and “Michael’s my best friend.” This was the first time the judge had hosted a group of kindergarteners in the courtroom, and she wasn’t prepared for how endearing it was.

The Beautiful Scene Made The Judge Cry

adoption-6
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

Though the judge had seen countless hearings in her career, this one was unique enough to overwhelm her with joyful emotions as though it was her first time. As the children shared their love for Michael, the justice couldn’t help but dab at some tears.

She wasn’t the only one crying; everyone in the room was filled with joy to the point of being teary-eyed. One person who couldn’t stop smiling from ear-to-ear was Michael.

Michael Was Over The Moon

adoption-1
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

Michael couldn’t have been happier about his incredible adoption hearing. He sat in a seat next to his parents and in front of the rest of the class, taking in all of the love and support he so deserved.

After all these years of being afraid of where he might have to move, he could finally rest assured that the people he loved weren’t going anywhere. It a matter of moments, his dreams would come true.

Officially A Forever Family

adoption-3
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

Once the hearing was complete, Michael and his new parents went up to the judges to hit the gavel. With that sound, the young boy knew he finally had a forever home and a permanent family.

The moment filled Michael with so much joy that he blurted out, “I love my daddy!” If David and Andrea ever had any doubts, they were squashed in that moment. Michael had made just as powerful an impact on their lives as they had on his.

They Had No Idea The Story Would Go Viral

adoption-7
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

As heartwarming as the day was, no one could have foreseen that soon after, newscasters would be flocking to interview the parents and teachers. Before long, Michael’s story went viral.

Kerry humbly remarked, “I am riding this love wave with such passion because I feel so honored and blessed that anyone, even you, is interested in what we did in little old Grand Rapids Michigan.” It was a surreal feeling to have so many people moved by one single story.

Explaining Adoption To Young Children

adoption-14
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

One thing that made the story stand out was how willing the other young children were to support Michael’s adoption. It’s incredible that a group of kindergarteners could grasp how important the day was for him.

Kerry explained to her students, “Family doesn’t have to be DNA. Family is support and love.” Her wise words combined with the moving day helped the young children understand how meaningful and special it is to be surrounded by people who care.

Surrounded With Love

adoptiono-2
Kent County Courthouse
Kent County Courthouse

At the end of the hearing, Michael posed with what he considers to be his extended family: his class. They all held up their hearts and surrounded Michael, giving him more support than he may have ever felt before.

Though it took a challenging situation to bring Michael to this beautiful moment, what came out of it was a lesson everyone present now holds dear. The special day didn’t just impact the new family, but many others.