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Adoptions celebrated at courthouse

Staff writer

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link Aubry Buzek: Staff photo

Harmony Rose Smith and her sister Carnation were adopted by their parents Joe and Denise.

Tears are not out of place in a district court room, but on Wednesday they were tears of joy as district judges united families from Curry and Roosevelt counties.

“We are here to celebrate families, children and adoptions,” said Ben Cross, the 9th Judicial District Court staff attorney. “Adoption affects everybody's life.”

District Judges Donna Mowrer and David Reeb conducted seven adoptions of nine children for National Adoption Day. During each adoption, the judges gave each child the opportunity to bang the gavel, choose a stuffed bear, and make an announcement to the room.

“My name is Harmony,” adoptee Harmony Smith said into the microphone.

“Why is today so special?” Reeb asked.

“Because I'm being adopted, and so is my sister Carnation,” Harmony said. “You mean the world to me mom and dad. Now my name is Harmony Rose Smith.”

Harmony and Carnations parents, Joe and Denise Smith of Clovis, said they have been waiting for this day for four years.

“It's been a long time coming. She's happy. She's excited,” Joe said about daughter Harmony. “One of the things she's most excited about is her name change. Before she didn't have a middle name and now she does.”

Dozens of stuffed bears and bright balloons decorated the usually drab courtroom. Tissue boxes were placed near the parents in front of the judge's stand for the emotional event.

When Clovis residents Kelly and Stephen Cousins’ son Kenny took the stand with Judge Reeb, the child’s announcement provoked laughter and some tears in the packed courtroom.

“My name is Kenny,” Kenny yelled into the microphone with a big smile. “Today I'm being adopted. God has blessed me.”

After the official adoption court procedures were finished, the kids enjoyed cake before grabbing the balloons and heading to the front of the courthouse. A few balloons slipped out of the children's fingers, but there were enough to make sure every child had one. As their names were announced, each child released their balloon into the sky.

“As a judge, this is one of the best things we get to do,” Judge Mowrer said. “Everybody walks out smiling.”