Good news at a bad time. On Friday, March 20th, as the Coronavirus kept most of us isolated at home, I drove from Indianapolis to Gary in Lake County. Two Indiana families met me and Magistrate Jeffrey Miller at the courthouse. We were joined there by eleven children, looking for permanence. One family was adopting four children. The other was welcoming seven. The children had all been in foster care for an average of two to three years. All were developmentally delayed or special needs in some way.
Theirs were the only two cases heard that day. Attendance was minimal. The courthouse was nearly empty. The staff was anxious to get in and get out. When most adoption cases were being decided electronically over the internet, Magistrate Miller felt differently. Adoption was like a marriage, binding for life. However limited, it deserved a ceremony, a legal celebration.
The first family and their youngsters entered the courtroom. The DCS protocol was reviewed. Assents were given. The judge posed for pictures with the new family. Out they went and in came the second family group. The same procedure was followed. The magistrate pounded his gavel. Another instant family. Pictures were taken and off they went. Home to celebrate as two new instant families.
My role is to shepherd the way for parents and children. through the twin bureaucracies of the DCS and court systems. Driving home alone that day, I was smiling. Two generous couples, willing to give of themselves. Eleven children now have a legal promise of permanence. I love my job.