After spending years in and out of foster care, a little boy from Michigan was finally adopted .
In his delight, he wanted to share the momentous occasion with his friends. So, Michael insisted on bringing his entire kindergarten class with him to the adoption hearing.
Keep scrolling for the full story, and to watch the footage from the heartwarming occasion...
Hundreds of thousands of children are in the foster system here in the U.S.
via: GettyOn any given day, there are nearly 443,000 children in foster care here in this country.
The fostering process is a long one...
via: GettyAnd children are often bounced from one foster home to another, therefore never experiencing any real stability while growing up. Some children are even separated from their siblings in the foster process.
This can result in serious harm.
via: GettyThe longer a child remains in temporary care, the more likely it is that he or she will experience multiple placement changes, and therefore disrupted relationships in the future.
Many children are stuck in the foster care system for years.
via: GettyA lot of people assume that the foster system is a short-term solution, a substitute family, while a child's home life is getting settled or arranged.
Sadly, this isn't always the case.
via: GettySome children spend years in the foster system and struggle to ever find a permanent family.
So, when a child is adopted...
via: GettyIt is always a momentous occasion.
Adoption is a huge deal for any family...
via: GettyBut for a child who has never experienced a loving home, it is a completely life-changing moment.
It is certainly an event to be celebrated.
via: GettyAnd one little Michigan boy wanted to celebrate his adoption with all of his best friends.
Thursday 5 December marked a very special day in Michigan.
via: GettyIt was the 23rd annual Adoption Day at Kent County Courthouse, Michigan, during which thirty-seven children were welcomed into their forever homes.
And Michael Orlando Clark Jnr was amongst the lucky children.
via: YouTubeBut Michael's adoption ceremony stood out from the rest...
Because he brought his full class with him.
Michael wanted all of his classmates to share his special moment...
via: YouTubeSo the 5-year-old insisted that all of them join him at the hearing. “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."
And, incredibly, they all turned up to support their friend.
via: YouTubeClutching onto homemade paper love hearts which were glued to wooden sticks, his friends seemed excited to share his big moment together.
They excitably waved the love hearts in the air...
via: YouTubeAnd watched on as Michael's adoption was finalized.
And, in an incredibly heartwarming moment...
via: YouTubeEach child in attendance took it in turns to say something nice about Michael during the hearing.
Each child quipped up with something they loved about their classmate.
via: YouTube“My name is Steven, and Michael is my best friend," one child said. “My name is Lily, and I love Michael," said another.
And, following his classmates' adorable input...
via: YouTubeMichael's official adoption process began.
His adoptive parents were also in attendance...
via: YouTubeDavid Eaton and Andrea Melvin, who are taking Michael in as their own, were seen hitting the gavel together to mark the special occasion.
The family couldn't be happier.
via: YouTubeAnd, when asked how he felt after the hearing, Michael said, “I love my daddy. I love him so much," a statement that prompted Mr. Eaton to become overcome with emotion and embrace his son.