Family Court in Barrie was filled with joy, happiness and love today. No, I am not intoxicated or otherwise delusional! I was representing a client completing an adoption. It was great.
Justice Olah, our local family court judge, brought out toys for the children to play with, paper to draw on and an assortment of toys from earlier days when her kids were young. She never brings out such fun things for us lawyers to play with in her courtroom. We are relegated to playing with our words, documents and the Rules of Court! Kids have all the fun!
Justice Olah was very sweet and caring yet appropriately professional. My client today was a grandmother adopting her five year old granddaughter. Justice Olah spoke to the child at length about her drawings and the toys she was playing with and her love for her grandmother. She asked my adopting client if she promised to love and care for her grandchild forever. In turn, she even asked the five year old child if she would "love and kiss and hug her mommy forever". Of course, the response on both occasions was a resounding "yes!" It was a nice touch.
We regularly do adoptions for clients. The most common type is step-fathers who are adopting their wife’s children when the biological father is no longer interested in being a parent. Of course, step-mothers adopt children too. We recently received an inquiry from a lesbian couple who had a baby using sperm from an anonymous donor and wanted the non-biological mother to adopt the baby. I look forward to helping that couple get their adoption completed too.
After the ceremony, Justice Olah obliged the parties with photographs. The child and Justice Olah posed for one and then several were taken with the whole family (including me).
Often family court judges don’t have the opportunity to preside over joyous events such as consent adoptions. More often, their task is to deal with acrimonious and vengeful spouses seeking to distribute the spoils at the end of a marriage. Today, on the other hand, was full of joy, hope for the future and love.
I think Justice Olah would like more days like today.