A five-year-old boy from Michigan has invited his entire kindergarten class to court – to watch his legal adoption take place.
Michael Clark Jr was officially welcomed into his new family on Thursday, as part of Kent County’s annual adoption day in Michigan, alongside 36 other children.
But in an unusual twist, the boy invited his whole class to come and watch and take part in the proceedings.
Pictures on the court’s Facebook page showed Michael sat next his adoptive parents in a chair too big for him, backed by his classmate’s heads peering over the benches behind him.
Another post from the courthouse said: “There is not a dry eye in Judge Patricia Gardner’s courtroom.”
Some of the children gave testimonies about Michael in court as part of the proceedings, with them declaring their love and friendship for their classmate.
A teacher added: “We began the school year as a family.
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“Family doesn’t have to be DNA, because family is support and love.”
When the adoption was made official by the judge, the children and teachers waved paper hearts and cheered for their friend with his new parents, David Eaton and Andrea Melvin, on hand to help Michael bang the gavel.
Mr Eaton, during an interview with local media, said the whole process had been “amazing”, but before he had time to finish his statement, Michael jumped in and said: “I love my daddy. I love my daddy so much.”
Judge Gardner told local media: “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.”
Across the US, adoption day usually takes place in November, but Michigan holds it a month later, in order to let the new families get a visit from Santa and his elves.
It also meant the courtroom was decked out in Christmas decorations, while the judge wore a festive necklace for the proceedings.
The post on the court’s Facebook page about Michael’s adoption appears to have inspired thousands of people, and has been shared more than 114,000 times.