A Kindergarten class from Michigan took a field trip to the courthouse to watch one of their classmates become formally adopted.
A group of 5-year-old students boarding a school bus for a trip to the courtroom may not be a typical Kindergarten outing, but for Kerry McKee’s class from Wealthy Elementary in East Grand Rapids, it was the perfect decision.
The students came to support their classmate, Michal Clark Jr., as he joined his forever family through adoption.
The proceeding was a part of Kent County’s annual Adoption Day, and Michael was one of 37 children who was adopted on Thursday.
In November of 2018, Michael came to live with his foster parents, Andrea Melvin and Dave Eaton, who became his adoptive parents on Thursday.
He has spent the last year learning what it means to be a family, which included his teacher and friends at school.
“We began the school year as a family,” McKee told WHAS-TV. “Family doesn’t have to be DNA, because family is support and love.”
As Michael’s adoption date grew nearer, the boy decided he wanted to invite his entire class to his adoption ceremony.
“We asked him and he said ‘You know, the class is kind of my family.’ And he wanted them to be there,” Eaton told WOOD-TV.
One by one, Michael’s classmates stated their names and gave heartwarming reasons for why they had chosen to attend, such as, “Michael is my best friend” and “I love Michael.”
The kids waved sticks with pink and red hearts attached to celebrate Michael’s new family. Emotions were running high for the adults, including Eaton, who became visibly choked up when his son blurted out, “I love my Daddy!”
“There is not a dry eye in Judge Patricia Gardner’s courtroom,” Kent County officials wrote on Facebook.
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kent County also celebrated Michael’s adoption, congratulating the family on social media.
“Congratulations to Michael and his family,” CASA of Kent County posted on Facebook. “So cool that his entire class came to support him!”
— James Starks (@_JamesStarks) December 5, 2019
Melvin and Eaton told WOOD-TV that foster care was a calling, and encouraged those who have considered becoming a foster parent to take the next step. Thousands of children in Michigan and nationwide need a safe and loving foster home.
“If it’s something that’s crossed your mind, you should consider it and get trained and just see what it’s all about,” Melvin said.
McKee said her students have learned a valuable lesson through witnessing Michael’s adoption.
“The lesson is put a little love in your heart,” she said. “We rise when we support others.”
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