Your feel-good story of the week.
A 5-year-old boy in Michigan invited his entire kindergarten class to his adoption hearing so they could be part of his moment. Of course they showed up.
CBS News reported Michael Orlando Clark Jr. “was officially adopted on Thursday and all his friends showed up to the Kent County Courthouse in Michigan to celebrate with him.”
Kent County’s Facebook page posted a photo of Clark’s hearing. His classmates can be seen in the background holding up hearts for support. On Friday, the Facebook page for the county shared a heartwarming follow-up for Clark:
Yesterday we brought you the story of Michael. He invited his kindergarten class to his adoption hearing because, in his words, they are part of his family.
We knew people would love Michael, but we were surprised at how fast and how far this story traveled.
Michael was on NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News Tonight, The Today Show, Good Morning America and hundreds of other media outlets worldwide.
His story was seen by 12 million people on this Facebook page alone.
Perhaps the interest in Michael’s story proves that the things that unite us are far more important to us than the things that divide us.
We learned this lesson from a five year old who never endeavored to teach.
He simply let us witness love, effortlessly.
Thank you, Michael
CBS also shared video from Clark’s special day, showing him smiling ear to ear with his new parents — Andrea Melvin and Dave Eaton — and Judge Patricia Gardner as they banged the gavel together to make his adoption official.
“Sometimes their journeys have been very long, they’ve included miracle and change for the children and family and incredible community support as you’re able to see today in Michael’s adoption hearing,” Honorable Judge Patricia Gardner said.
“His whole kindergarten class and school being here to say ‘we love you,’ and ‘we support you’ and ‘we’ll be here not only today but in all the years in the future.'”
After the hearing, Clark enthusiastically told WZZM: “I love my daddy. I love my daddy so much.”
His new father could barely contain his emotions.
Each of Clark’s classmates was given the chance to introduce themselves to the Judge and tell her why they were there to support Clark. One of his classmates, identified only as Steven, said, “Michael is my best friend.”
“We began the school year as a family,” Clark’s teacher said at the hearing, according to WZZM. “Family doesn’t have to be DNA, because family is support and love.”
Clark was one of 37 children who were also adopted on Thursday as part of Kent County’s annual Adoption Day, CBS reported.
WOOD TV reported that Melvin and Eaton became Clark’s foster parents nearly a year ago.
“We were thinking, ‘How can we build our family?’” Melvin told the outlet. “And there’s so many options, right, for building a family these days.”
“We asked him and he said ‘You know, the class is kind of my family.’ And he wanted them to be there,” Eaton told WOOD TV.