Several employees of the Onslow County courthouse and a professional from Camp Lejeune helped put on a special adoption ceremony for a 3-year-old girl.
The Onslow County Clerk of Court made dreams come true for one young girl in August.
Lisa Brown, clerk of court, caught wind of an idea to include Disney princesses in an adoption ceremony a few years ago after seeing an office in Michigan do it, but had to wait for the right child to come along.
She said recently, a 3-year-old girl was adopted by a family after encountering many hardships in her short life, including medical issues and being removed from her biological family. Brown said the one thing she learned about the girl, who cannot be named due to court confidentiality, was that she loved princesses and the color pink.
“I thought, ‘This is the one,’” Brown said.
She said usually families don’t request an adoption ceremony, but when they do, she tries to learn about the family from their report to make it special. She said there’s no funding for this part of her job, and all those involved in the adoption ceremony were volunteers.
Many employees in the court had already volunteered to participate in the Aug. 13 ceremony, including those in the Register of Deeds office and some of the clerks.
Angela Toteno, who works in the Onslow County Register of Deeds, played Cinderella and said she had never taken part in an adoption ceremony before.
“They even prayed for the family … I was glad I had the gloves for my tears,” Toteno said.
Katie Green, who works as a clerk at the Onslow County District Courthouse, said she, too, shed a few a tears.
“It was very heartwarming … it was hard not to cry,” Green said.
Green dressed up as Belle and said she already had the costume after dressing up for her niece’s birthday, but had never been part of something like an adoption before. But, she said getting involved was an easy decision.
“It was an opportunity to do something nice for a family who had been through a lot,” Green said.
Brown said inviting the clerks and other employees to take part in the ceremony was an opportunity to show them good things can happen at the courthouse, in addition to an opportunity to serve a family in the community.
“I share (these moments) with my staff because it helps them see all the hard work they do and something special come out of it,” Brown said.
Brown said during the ceremony, the little girl got to know each of the princesses better as she was welcomed into her new family.
“I gave each princess a pink balloon to hand to the girl and I thought it would go fast, but she wanted to talk to each one and ask her questions,” Brown said.
Two other women not employed by the courts joined in the adoption ceremony, including Riley Eversull, public affairs officer for Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, who dressed as Elsa.
Eversull, who has volunteered as Elsa before, said she expected the questions and takes her time in costume seriously.
“The reason I take it seriously is children are so smart,” Eversull said. “Kids are so clever, so I have some pretty clever responses for why I can’t make it snow inside my building or why I can’t use my powers outside of where Elsa lives.”
Beki Jones, who works at the Onslow County Register of Deeds, played Snow White and said she sort of expected the little girl involved to be engaged and ask questions.
“I have a little girl about the same age,” Jones said.
Jones said having a chance to get involved with the adoption ceremony, which is not part of her regular job at the courthouse, was something almost “magical.” She explained in a Facebook post how the ceremony “restored” her faith in humanity, and was especially moved by the mother asking for prayers from those at the ceremony.
“It was awesome, I thought I was doing it to bless the (family), but I got blessed,” she added.
Eversull agreed, saying being able to interact with children as Elsa is special because they still believe in fairy tales and it’s very real to them.
“Let kids believe in magic, because it only lasts for so long,” Eversull said.
Reporter Kelsey Stiglitz can be reached at 910-219-8453 or kstiglitz@JDNews.com.