Whether you’re there for a major offense or a minor one, the inside of a courtroom is not a place anyone wants to be, and it's certainly no place for a child. When I think about divorce hearings and other court cases that involve kids, it's often easy to forget that the children involved have to appear in the courtroom. It’s a stressful enough place to be as an adult, so I cannot imagine how confusing and uncomfortable it is for someone as young as five years old. Even something as joyous as an adoption hearing can be daunting in those cold, gray rooms.
To ensure that the courtroom would not be a place of discomfort for their new daughter, Sarah and Jim Koning devised a secret plan to turn their adoption hearing into something magical.
Five-year-old Danielle has been living with her foster parents, the Konings, in Grand Rapids, Michigan since 2014. Last week, Danielle became an official Koning when the pair adopted her along with another adorable one-year-old girl. Rather than come to court in your typical business formal attire, everyone came dressed to the nines in princess gear.
Like most kids, Danielle has a love for all things Disney - it is "the happiest place on Earth," after all.
It was Danielle's foster worker who came up with the ingenious idea to have those in attendance dress up as Disney princesses.
“She was shocked when the princesses first came in. She sure was,” Danielle’s new mom, Sarah Koning, told ABC News. “The look on her face was priceless.”
All of Danielle’s favorite royals were there for her big day: Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, and Prince Charming.
Even Judge Patricia Gardner pulled back from her stand to reveal her own Snow White costume.
“I think it’s really important to make that adoption day special for every kid in whatever capacity you can,” said Koning. “No matter what, if kids have been bounced around a lot, it really helps them to feel the permanency and know that they’re not going anywhere now. It’s really important for kids to feel that security.”
Thanks to Danielle's beautiful support system, her adoption day became more than just paperwork. It was a fairy tale come to life.
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