Michael Orlando Clark Jr., a kindergartener from Grand Rapids, MI, was so excited to be placed in his forever home, he invited his entire class to his adoption hearing. Eager to see one of their friends make things official with his new parents, his teacher agreed to take the children to the courthouse on the morning of Dec. 5.
"We began the school year as a family," Clark's teacher told an ABC affiliate. "Family doesn't have to be DNA, because family is support and love." Overall, 36 children who lived in Kent County went home with their adoptive parents that day, and it was a deeply beautiful moment for Honorable Judge Patricia Gardner.
"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," said Judge Gardner. "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.'"
Each family was allowed a half-hour hearing surrounded by their loved ones. And an added bonus? Santa Claus stopped by to greet each child after they got the good news. What an unforgettable day for Michael and his family!