Wednesday, August 10, 2016. | Vero Beach Courthouse.
One curly headed, blue eyed toddler. | Two adoring and hopeful parents to be.
A judge | Five adoptions | A room full of supportive friends.
Laughter | Tears | Multiple sighs of relief | Congratulations.
The judge began the ceremony expressing her love for this one day of the month in which she signs off on the official adoption of boys and girls of all ages. It is a happy day in the courtroom. The atmosphere is hopeful. The room is packed. A table holds an arrangement of toys for the newly adopted to choose from. One boy who seems 8 or 9 years of age reaches for the trusty football. Another little girl chooses the pretty Barbie. Little Matthew, my subject that day, picks out the plastic cash register with all the intriguing buttons.
This was one of those days where my love for photography met my love for people and their stories. It was touching to be able to witness each of these families walk to the judge, pledge their commitment to raising these kids as their own and walk away after months of hard work – a unit. A fresh start. A new family.
Charlotte expressed to me in our initial conversation what a long journey it has been for her and her husband. I knew that the day was momentous for them and her excitement was evident in her smile so big, it reached her eyes. And it showed in her husband’s embrace to Matthew the moment it became official and friends and family surrounded them with applause.
From the moment I walked in and saw the adorable, curly-headed Matthew, I knew how Charlotte and her husband fell in love with this little bundle of energy. Through his escapes onto the courtroom floor and wild runs in the hallway, to his sneaky attempts at snagging as many sugar cookies from the table as possible, he had the whole room in laughs. His energy is contagious; his charm undeniable.
I would like to wish this family a big congratulations and a heartfelt thank you for allowing me to capture their day. What an honor to be a fly on the wall in the courthouse that day.