BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) - There wasn't a dry eye inside an Adams County courtroom on Tuesday after a 3rd grade girl found her forever family. Aerith was surrounded by dozens of her Louisville Elementary School classmates for the proceedings.
Aerith met her new mom, Jessie, at a Foster Source support group. The two instantly connected and now will forever be a part of each other's lives.
Aerith even dressed up in a "big, white, poofy princess dress" for the occasion after she and her mom went shopping.
As soon as the judge made it all official, Aerith told the court, "Peace out foster care, see you never."
Then moments later, she and her classmates broke out in song - singing "Count On Me" by Bruno Mars.
Jessi shared her letter to Aerith for this special day:
Dear Aerith -
An adult adoptee recently wrote a letter to her two-year-old son on his adoption day that included this line: "Adoption is a beautiful ending, but it doesn't erase the broken beginning." We have been feeling this deeply as we counted down to adoption day.
And now here we are, in court, minutes before you will bang the gavel, and I will get to, officially and legally, call you my daughter.
Daughter without the "foster" qualifier that has had to come before it. Until now.
Today is two days short of the one-year anniversary of your placement date. When I drove down to Colorado Springs to pick you up and bring you home. I first set eyes on you four months earlier on a warm October day, at the Boulder Public Library. You were doing hot laps around the children's section.
"What a wild thing!" I thought as I watched you.
When I saw you again the next day, at my house, you asked me why I was a foster parent. No kid had ever asked me that before, and the question caught me slightly off guard. I fumbled through my answer, gesturing around to the spare bedroom. I have the space, I told you, and the love in my heart. It's a little lonely and quiet around here when it's just me.
"Then why don't you get a husband," you quipped?
You continue to quip. Often. You are smart. You are funny. You are kind. You are brave. You make me laugh and keep me on my toes with your non-stop questions and never-ending insights.
It is not lost on me that my gain in you is colored by your loss. Aerith, you have walked through trauma and pain that no one should have to experience. And our first year reflects that. It hasn't been easy. It has always been worth it.
No matter the challenges, we have both kept showing up, fumbling along, doing our best and loving each other. We also have an amazing and generous community who has loved us up in ways that feels equal parts humbling and heartwarming. Without them, I genuinely don't know that we would have made it. Which is why today reflects the important role our community has played in this wild, wild ride. And why it is so fitting that you have your entire third grade class here with you today.
There are also people missing from this courtroom, people that mean so much to you, and by extension, mean so much to me. They love you so much, and while they are not here physically, their presence is deeply felt.
I promise you that I will always strive to respect and honor the suffering, loss, pain and brokenness in your story alongside the joy, healing, growth and redemption. I will speak of your biological family with grace and love. And as you continue to ask hard questions, I will do my best to find the answers you need to understand and make sense of your past and thrive in your future.
Over the course of this year, we have repeatedly heard many people say how lucky you are to be with me. Undoubtedly, we will continue to hear this from those that don't quite understand.
And so I will tell you over and over and over:
I am the lucky one. And you are the champion of this story.
Today nothing changes, baby, and everything does. I am so grateful, humbled and happy to be your mom.
I love you most, Missy Moo. You are my very best girl.
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