Disney Princesses appear in court to watch little girl’s adoption

As a surprise for five-year-old Danielle Koning at her adoption hearing, the entire courtroom came dressed as Disney Princesses. Some dreams really do come true.

I’m a big fan of adoption: my stepfather adopted me, as an adult, long after I needed any material support from him or my mother. It was an act of pure love, a symbolic gesture that he saw himself as my father and caretaker. The judge in the courtroom, a cousin of my stepfather’s, asked me jokingly if I really understood what I was getting into by joining this family. It was a lovely moment, and a memory I cherish.

But that’s nothing compared to this little girl’s adoption story: five-year-old Danielle Koning, who’s been living with her foster parents, Sarah and Jim Koning of Michigan, since 2014, was finally adopted by the family, along with another little girl, last week. Her social worker, who knows how meaningful and profound the final adoption hearing can be, convinced the entire court room to dress as Disney characters (knowing that Danielle loves Disney princesses). So on the day of the hearing, in walked Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty. Even the judge got into the spirit—wearing a Snow White dress and donned a red bow in her hair—to help make what could otherwise be a solemn and intimidating occasion into a celebration worthy of a little girl’s dreams.

For my adoption hearing, I think I wore a skirt and a sweater—definitely nothing worthy of a princess. But the social workers who work so tirelessly and compassionately knew what would make this day look as special as it feels. So to them, let’s raise a glass. A glass slipper, that is.

Leigh Anderson
Leigh Anderson
Leigh Anderson is the author of "The Games Bible: The Rules, The Gear, The Strategies" (Workman, 2010) and has written for Vox, Newsweek.com, and Popular Science, among others.

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