Gratitude Starts Here!
GRATITUDE .... in a most unique circumstance
November 20th was CT Adoption Day.
This year, with the pandemic threatening any shred of normalcy, remarkable efforts were put forth by the juvenile court judges and court personnel in the 7 courthouses across Connecticut, that hosted virtual adoption hearings.
Members of the CT DCF Exec Team 'travelled' around the state, remotely logging-in to proceedings presided over by Judge Conway, Judge Lobo, Judge Westbrook and Judge Wilkerson-Brilliant. We were blown away by the care taken by each of these judges to make this occasion, individualized & memorable for the each of the families involved.
Some highlights witnessed were:
- Displaying an electronic copy of the adoption decree on screen.
- Slowing the proceeding to allow for freshly-minted grandparents, who were visibly moved by the experience, to take in the uniqueness of the moment in reflection.
- Sharing a very moving heart-stirring letter of 'advice' from an adopted parent to the anxious 'new' parents about the wonders of adoption.
- Welcoming the media, legislators, entire virtual classrooms, and throngs of well-wishers while gently explaining the expected decorum of court proceedings.
- Personally acknowledging all of the 50 participants in the virtual courtroom by canvassing them each on their relationship to the family (that particular hearing had participants from throughout the US and around the world from Canada, London, Serbia, Brussels, Copenhagen and Vienna!)
- Indulging shy, boisterous, and inquisitive children each with care and patience; some of whom only know judges by their gavels!
- Displaying genuine gratitude to the adoptive parents, their children, the village of supporters, DCF staff, the Assistant Attorneys Generals and other attorneys present.
- Judges reminding everyone to breathe and take in the joyous occasion and all of the range of emotions leading up to today.
Commissioner Dorantes noted,”....While we ALL have had challenges pivoting to the virtual environment, my face hurt from smiling so much on Adoption Day 2020!”
In many of the hearings, there was not a dry-eye 'in the house'. From the care and kindness the judges were able to conjure-up over the screen to the side-splitting laughter by the adults who could appreciate the juxtaposition of our collective 2020 angst; there was tremendous appreciation for these moments of happiness and elation at a time when those emotions are few and far between these days.
Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III said the day is the culmination of a process in which DCF, the Judicial Branch, private service providers and families join to provide permanency for children. "Many caring and committed professionals - including social work staff, court staff, and community partners -- work in tandem with the families to produce a great outcome for children," Judge Carroll said. "That cooperation is essential to achieve permanency for our children."
"Today was so incredibly moving and a reminder to me about how people like you and all of you at DCF, as well as the attorneys, help to keep our children connected to families who love them. I truly cannot thank you enough," wrote Representative McCarthy Vahey in her correspondence with Department staff after she attended one of the hearings.
The stories that will be told for years to come about 2020, to many of the children who were too young remember how special to their adoption day was.
The Judicial Branch SHOWED UP and created virtual ADOPTION DAY magic!!!
What a way to start a week of true GRATITUDE…