Area families take part in National Adoption Day

BIG RAPIDS — For Ryainna Lopez, Nov. 22 was a memorable, magical day as her family legally came together with the signing of some adoption papers and, of course, a little “spell” by Judge Kimberly Booher.

Smiling shyly, 4-year-old Ryainna sat with her mothers, Carrie and Pearl, of Reed City, in Mecosta County’s Probate Courtroom, as Booher formally put her signature on the paperwork to finalize the girl’s adoption.

“We are just absolutely happy that we have her,” Carrie told Booher, looking at her daughter perched upon her lap.

“She’s a blessing and a joy,” Pearl added.

As part of National Adoption Day, judges across the state finalized adoptions for 100 children in ceremonies featuring balloons, cakes, presents and plenty of happiness. On Nov. 22, Booher oversaw three adoptions for families from both Mecosta and Osceola counties.

When Booher had made the adoption official with paperwork, she stepped out of the courtroom in order to put the finishing touches on the process. When the judge re-emerged, she had taken off her robe in favor of a flowing, blue gown like Elsa’s in the Disney movie “Frozen.”

She instructed Ryainna to take her mothers’ hands, then waved a wand while performing a special spell.

“Wherever you wander, wherever you roam, you will always have a forever home,” Booher proclaimed.

She then crowned Ryainna before the family came up behind the bench for photos with the judge.

“It’s such a relief that this day is finally here,” Pearl said. “Everyone says she’s lucky to have us, but we know we’re the lucky ones.”

While Booher did not don her Elsa dress for his adoption, Timothy Lifflefield’s day was just as special. At 22 years old, Littlefield, of Hersey, now can call his stepfather, Jim Littlefield, his dad.

“As children we don’t always get to choose who our parents are, but you are at an age now where you can decide and it’s my understanding you want Mr. Littlefield to be your dad,” Booher said.

It was an exciting day for the family, said Timothy’s mother, Cindy.

“Timothy’s wanted for a long time to be able to call Jim his dad,” she said.

Last up for the day was the adoption of Colton Prudhomme, 6, by his stepfather, Matt Smith. Gathered in the courtroom with his mom, Kendra, along with brothers Brock, Nick and his baby brother, Hudson, Colton promised to be a good boy, at least most of the time.

After signing papers, Booher had Colton come to the front of the courtroom and presented him with a Batman cape.

“Today is a special day for you,” Booher said. “You are going to be a superhero today and every year on Nov. 22, it’ll be Colton’s special day. And now, you are finally adopted.”

Until the appointment of Judge Tyler Thompson, Booher had been overseeing probate matters during the time when Mecosta and Osceola counties had a vacancy in the probate judge position. When she first realized National Adoption Day was coming up, Booher knew she wanted to have a celebration.

Adoption is very close to Booher’s heart, with her daughter adopted from Korea, along with having other members of her family.

“As an adoptive mother myself, I often think back and think, ‘Is she a blessing to me?’ and ‘Am I a blessing to her?’” she said. “It’s a wonderful experience when you have the ability to take a child and raise them to be your own. It’s very important to me.”