Here is “Reunification Day” from the Washtenaw County Legal News, Michigan.
Justice McCormack acknowledged how moving the annual Adoption Day celebrations are and that “in a way, this is even more moving.
“As I look around and talk with people today, I believe it’s a privilege to be a part of this celebration. What a tremendous accomplishment. In reading thousands of petitions, you come to understand the struggles that families are facing in this process and of what’s required of them. I know from personal experience and as a mother that parenting is incredibly hard work. Raising a family is hard even when things are going well let alone the curve balls thrown at families in the court process.”
McCormack noted that parents “are only as happy as your unhappiest child.”
“As an appellate judge, it isn’t often that I can look a parent in the face and say, ‘Well Done.’ So it’s nice to say that today. In spite of setbacks, you didn’t stop working to show your kids what it means to be a family. And as important as that accomplishment, you have shown your kids how to get through it when life throws you a curve ball.”
Chairman Mandoka noted that during his involvement in the development of a tribal court system in Michigan, tribal leaders needed to address difficult family situations.
“We wanted to make sure people could see more clearly when in a fog. In the fog, you feel lost, you make wrong decisions. We’ve all been a part of that. We have now developed a court system and a probation system to help struggling individuals see past that fog.
“In the end, it’s always about a relationship. You can talk about models, plans and forecasts but it’s still all about the relationship; eye-to-eye contact and a handshake.
“We all should make sure that we leave this earth a better place than how it was when we came into it, for our children. That’s what should drive us, should be our passion.”
Judge Connors noted that those involved in child welfare work have defined the responsibility to three core accomplishments: safe children, strong families and supportive communities.
“We are always looking at doing whatever furthers those key goals. One thing we have learned from Native American culture and tribal courts is the importance to come to your work with an internal balance. Only then can we bring the best that we have to a situation."