All Smiles at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse
Submitted by Dave Franklin, CASA of Pinal County
Saturday, November 1st was a magical day at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse as families welcomed their newest members. The Courthouse was alive with the sound of joy and laughter as 29 families, 6 judges and 80 plus volunteers and court staff collaborated to make this incredible event happen. As a result, the lives of 38 children took a sharp turn off of a road marred with uncertainty onto a road filled with hope and promise. And the lives of countless community members were forever changed.
Volunteers consisted of CASA advocates, students from Central Arizona College and Arizona State University, Home of Hope students, Pinal County Community Advisory Board (CAB) members, Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation members, Knights of Columbus, Pinal Council for CASA/Foster, Inc. board members, as well as other distinguished members of the community. The volunteers were joined by six Superior Court Judges including: Judges Figueroa, Oldham, White, Eppich, Raymond and Judge Scales from Gila County. State, County and Private Attorneys, Arizona Department of Child Safety Case Workers, Juvenile Court Services staff and an array of other court employees (bailiffs, clerk's office, court reporters, etc.) helped throughout the day.
For most, proceedings at a courthouse are not typically joyful occasions. The course of events that lead to adoption are typically not positive, making courthouse visits usually filled with anxiety and frustration. But on this beautiful Saturday morning the courthouse was a place of celebration and achievement, a day when the hard work of many has finally paid off. As a result, these children will never look at this courthouse the same way again!
In fact, if they didn't know any better they may have thought that they were at a amusement park rather than a courthouse. There were clowns, fun and games, decorations were strewn throughout the lobby, cameras were going off in courtrooms throughout the building, food and refreshments were being served in the jury room and fun was being had by all.
It was truly an amazing day at the "Little Courthouse That Could." When asked to explain what Adoption Day meant to her, one of the adopting parents, Michele Reimer, summed up the overall sentiments of everyone who was present for this wondrous occasion, when she said that "Adoption Day means that my family is finally complete. Our girls have given us so much and we are so thankful that we get them in our hearts and family forever."