Emma took one look at her crumpled car being raised onto the back of the tow truck and stepped inside the waiting cab.
Sydney. She thought as she reached into her purse and pulled out a hot pink phone with jewels pasted all over it. She smiled at the contrast of her daughter’s latest creation to her black tailored suit. Such was life for her; dealing with contrasts.
“Joe, I’m not going to make it in time can you let the judge know what’s going on and see if she will push us back to the end of the hour. They are there? Great. I’m on my way.”
She slammed the cover of her phone closed the echoing thud of cheap materials doing nothing to diminish her frustration. She looked at her suit, none the worse for her accident and then glanced at her briefcase. Couldn’t say the same for my briefcase, she thought with a rueful smirk as she fiddled with the broken latch and picked up a few of the heavily bound documents inside. As she read through them one last time she couldn’t help but notice how they flittered playfully in the breeze of the cab’s air conditioning with a kind of freedom that the star of their contents had yet to truly experience in life.
Emma quietly slipped into the courtroom and looked at the bench. The judge noticed her coming in and nodded in her direction letting her know without words that she had been waiting for her. As if on cue, Emma heard the clerk of the court cite the case name and number.
Emma approached, her words carefully planned the night before. She glanced back at her clients and watched as they held Sydney, a chubby-cheeked one year old who had found Emma’s cell phone, stared at it in fascination and then squealed in delight.
“Your honor, my clients have come today to officially adopt Sydney Ann June as their daughter and if it pleases the court, to have her named changed to Sydney Alicia Banks.” Emma paused trying to get a feel for how the judge was reacting so she could determine how to proceed.
“My clients at this time are prepared to answer any questions of the court. Thank you, your honor.”
Judge Jill Jordan pushed her glasses up and watched Emma retreat back to her seat. Her glasses slipped down her nose again and she hesitated pushing them up and decided she could see just fine without them. Stupid bifocals. She looked at Aidan and Alice Banks with critical affection observing them. Sydney, like all kids that came into her courtroom, was special. Their lives contrasts to the birthright God had promised them and were marked by abuse and neglect. At this stage in their lives, Judge Jordan knew that she could make decisions that would help heal the wounds of their soul. It was only later as kids kept coming in that those deep wounds of feeling unwanted, unloved and insignificant, that Judge Jordan would begin to feel the first stages of hopeless creep in and radiate emptiness into their eyes. She could only do so much and if no one – like the Banks – stepped up to show that they cared about another member of God’s creation then most of these kids were lost in the system.
“Very well”, Judge Jordan began, “Mr. and Mrs. Banks is it your desire to adopt Sydney and change her name to Sydney Alicia Banks?”
Aidan and Alice were affirmative, their voices cracking in nervous excitement while Sydney looked up at the only mom she had ever known and laughed with the half giggle half deep belly chuckle of a toddler.
“It is the privilege of the court to grant your petition for adoption and affirm the order to change the name of the minor child to Sydney Alicia Banks.”
Emma smiled and watched Sydney who clapped her hands as if she had heard and understood every word the judge had said. She thought about her own daughter, Erin, and realized how being a parent is such a soul journey. Feeling hopeful and helpless, idealistic and practical with every human emotion seemingly juxtaposed except one: Love. Love stands alone and has no counter-equal.
Love had been Sydney’s greatest advocate. Emma knew where that kind of love came from – God – the ultimate judge over every case for every soul. She lowered the top of her briefcase. Case closed.
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