'Family doesn't have to be DNA': 5-year-old boy invites entire kindergarten class to his adoption hearing

Sabrina Barr
Michael Orlando Clark Jr: 13 On Your Side/WZZM

A young boy invited his entire kindergarten class to celebrate with him on the occasion of his adoption.

Thursday 5 December marked the 23rd annual Adoption Day at Kent County Courthouse, Michigan, during which 37 children were welcomed into their forever homes.

One of those children was five-year-old Michael Orlando Clark Jr, whose adoption hearing was overseen by Judge Patricia Gardner.

Kent County revealed on Facebook that Michael brought his school class with him to witness his adoption proceedings, in a post that has been shared more than 100,000 times.

In a video filmed by local news channel 13 On Your Side, Michael and his classmates can be seen posing with hearts in the courtroom.

(13 On Your Side, WZZM)

In a sweet moment, each child in attendance took it in turns to say something about Michael during the hearing.

“My name is Steven, and Michael is my best friend,” one child said.

“My name is Lily, and I love Michael,” said another.

Following the proceedings, Michael and his adoptive parents, David Eaton and Andrea Melvin, hit the gavel together to mark the five-year-old’s adoption.

(13 On Your Side/WZZM)

“We began the school year as a family,” Michael teacher told television channel WZZM.

“Family doesn’t have to be DNA, because family is support and love.”

While speaking to a reporter, Michael said: “I love my daddy. I love him so much,” a statement that prompted Mr Eaton to embrace his son.

(13 On Your Side, WZZM)

Several people on Twitter expressed their joy over Michael’s celebratory adoption hearing and the fact he was able to share it with his school friends.

“What a lucky little boy. But even luckier are the parents getting such a great kid. Just lovely!” one person wrote.

“As an adopted child, I love this!!! So glad the courts allow them to make it special!!” another commented.

According to charity Family Lives, every year there are 6,000 children in the UK in need of adoption.

The organisation outlines that many of these children are of a school age and half are siblings who would need to be placed in homes together.