One of the, if not the, greatest days of any of the Washingtons’ lives was the day the adoption was finalized. It was two days after Easter. The air was still cool in the mornings but the warmth of the sun was beginning to show up in the afternoons. The trees and the grasses were budding and sprouting in that bright yellow green of fresh new growth. The daffodils were still in bloom and Rosy was beaming as Reagan drove the family of three plus one to the courthouse.
The sights, smells and sounds of the courthouse were things both parents would have preferred to shield their children from, regardless of their ideological differences. As Rosy grabbed the hand of little Unity to keep her from running off into the crowded lobby, she whispered, “It’s much easier to love people when they’re a continent away, isn’t it?” Unity didn’t respond. Reagan found one of the lawyers he knew, and asked where Courtroom 3A might be. The hurried attorney pointed him toward the old marbled staircase at the north end of the lobby and directed him to Room A on the third floor. Rather than walking up the stairs with two kiddos, they found an elevator and after letting one go because it was too crowded with the wrong people, they stepped into one that they had to themselves and enjoyed the 1 minute of quiet. The elevator was obviously built, like the rest of the courthouse, in a time when architecture was more distinguished and the government was willing and able to spend the money on it. A marbled floor with real brass rails and wood-paneled walls suggested a level of decorum that more modern structures simply didn’t. The thing is, those who respect the place did
so regardless of the accoutrements and those who didn’t, well, didn’t. The elevator stopped on the second floor to pick up a mom with five children in dirty clothes and runny noses who had just seen their dad taken out of a courtroom in cuffs and shackles and were, shockingly, still talking about how he didn’t get angry this time. They seemed to expect to see him at home again in six months, or at least by Christmas. That family realized they were going the wrong way when the Washingtons exited on the third floor and found their caseworker and their attorney there to meet them. The other mom, pushing the elevator buttons with a vengeance, said a few choice words (in front of all the kids) as the Washingtons greeted their friends. They were beginning to move toward Courtroom 3A when Liberty stopped at the balcony in amazement to watch a line of men in orange suits and chains being lead by an officer across the lower floor. “Why are they chained up like that, dad? That seems awful!”
Reagan calmly explained, “There are two types of people in the world, princess, the good, and the bad. All it takes for the bad to succeed is for the good men to do nothing. Those men are in chains because they are bad. You’ll never be chained, because you are good.”
Liberty smiled and Unity seemed to grimace, though she was surely too young to understand the errant theology or philosophy of what her Dad had just said.
The children and their entourage were escorted by a police officer into a grand courtroom with a woman in a black gown sitting at a high desk. She smiled at the children and motioned for the lawyer to come forward. After saying several things that surely only the judge, lawyer, and caseworker understood, the judge looked at the the subject child, declared her independence from her natural parents, terminated the uncertainty of foster care, Unity was finally a part of the family. Everyone clapped and cheered, and the judge came down from her desk and took a selfie with the new family.
How could this day get any better? How could life get any better? This is what Unity had been hoping for and dreaming of for over a year, and she and Liberty and Rosy shed tears of joy, while Dad and the lawyer shook hands and patted each other on the back.
On the way out of the courthouse, Reagan and Rosy looked at each other lovingly, and knew that they had made the right choice to revive their frail marriage and keep the family together. The Washingtons stopped for ice cream on the way home, and all was well.