(NEW YORK) — As offices adjust amid the COVID-19 pandemic, courtrooms are one of many workplaces that have had to get inventive when it comes to getting their important and life-changing work done.
The Parsons family has been anxiously awaiting the day they could celebrate their growing family with an official court adoption. Because of the coronavirus the venue was moved from a courthouse to a conference call.
Parents Christopher and Tania, who adopted their now 13-year-old daughter in 2017, said they remembered from experience how special the big day was for their family and wanted to cement a similar moment for their newly adopted 7-year-old son Dominic.
“We knew how exciting Angel’s adoption was and how much she loved her special day and how memorable it was,” Tania Parsons told ABC News. “Which we wanted to do again.”
Her husband, Christopher Parsons, said at first the change of plans was a “big bummer,” but said they were “so excited” to make it legal regardless of where it happened. “He’s still gonna be our son officially.”
“It’s still a happy day — we’re so excited,” the mom of two added.
The judge who presided over the Parsons’ adoption, John F. Cherry, joined ABC News’ Pandemic: What You Need to Know and said the unique ceremony “was certainly emotional.”
During the conference call with the Parsons, Cherry told the family, “You two angels, your husband and wife are going to guarantee a life of happiness and love for this child. And the court is so grateful to you for stepping up and wanting to be those angels on Earth for this child.”
The juvenile dependency court judge from Pennsylvania explained that adoption cases are an uplifting and transformative experience.
“I’ve worked with children for the balance of my life and it has a great effect on me personally because I’m there for the worst part of the matter,” he explained. “That is the horrific scenarios that deal with these children who are removed from homes. And then you see the reverse. Children are so resilient who are in loving and caring homes — who come in totally transformed.”
During a typical adoption ceremony in person, Judge Cherry — a former teacher and coach — said he has a treasure chest for kids to take a toy from to help them feel more comfortable in his chambers on the big day.
“I made a promise,” he said, “that when this is over they can all come to Judge Cherry’s treasure chest.”
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