It was a BeUUUUUUtiful day in the neighborhood -- as this snap of All Saints will (I hope) illustrate. After a crazy week or so of weather going from 113 to 60's-and-pouring-rain, the pendulum has swung back to 80's & sunshine, clear skies & gentle breezes -- and so today was totally a day to rejoice and be glad in. And not just because of the weather.
My beautiful day started out at the Children's Court in East L.A. for the final adoption hearing for a wonderful couple and their (as of 9:15 this morning!) adorable son. And after a grim week of news dominated by tragic stories of children at risk what an absolute delight it was to be part of a happy ending/new beginnings story instead!
It's actually kind of a long story and since it's their story to tell (not mine!) suffice to say these two great guys found All Saints a couple of years ago and not long after shared with us their hopes of starting a family. It has been SUCH a joy to watch them bloom and grow as exactly that as they figured out fatherhood and today was really just the court system saying "AMEN" to the family they have already become.
So we were about 20 folks -- friends, family and colleagues -- crammed into a court room for a ten minute paper signing process with a family court judge presiding. And when the judge got through all the leaglese and pronounced that they were "officially" a family ... well, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. Including the judge.
And when we all gathered up around "her honor" for a group photo, it was family values incarnate ... everyone from the uncle from one side of the family -- who flew down from San Francisco for the morning -- to the grandpa, grandma and GREAT-grandma from the other who drove down from the San Joaquin Valley -- to the parish priest who wouldn't have missed it for the world. And I still get a little teary sitting here picturing "Grandpa" with the tears streaming down his cheeks as he sat in that courtroom and watched his son raise his right hand and become a father right before his eyes.
So Mazel Tov to the new official family. We're going to be talking about a family blessing service down the road a bit and I'm sure that will be fun and fabulous and a wonderful celebration. But today -- in a frankly rather grim little courtroom in East L.A. -- we were all already blessed by the love and commitment and traditional family values incarnate as we watched a new family "birthed" into the world. May God bless them and keep them -- and may the joy of this day of new beginnings warm their hearts -- and ours! -- always.