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Posted November 26, 2007

Book: From the Bench: A Heartwarming Collection of Adoption Stories
Author: Randy T. Rogers
ProWriters Plus, Ltd. Lebanon, OH. 2007. Pp. 62

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Good things happen every day! From the Bench is a heartwarming collection of stories about adoptions by people who have done some of those good things. These people and their unconditional love for children first changed the somewhat hardened heart of the judge who presided over their cases. Now, as that same judge shares in this book those uplifting and encouraging stories, the hearts of many others will be similarly touched as the pages of From the Bench are read from coast to coast. From the Bench instills hope in whoever reads it. Within its pages that good things still happen every day.

An Excerpt from the Book:

A Story of Hope

“Someone’s missing,” I observed, looking in the direction of the parents-to-be. “Where’s the little girl?”

Judges regularly hear evidence of the effects that immorality and crime have had upon this nation’s families, but there are moments in courtrooms when the evidence takes a surprising turn from the muddied waters of disagreement and despair, a turn toward a place of harmony and hope. The little girl that day took me to such a place. The County’s Children Services Board had placed the little girl for adoption. When the hearing began, every seat in the courtroom was filled. The crowd was so large that I had to abandon my small hearing room where adoptions normally took place and had to mve to my big courtroom where jury trials took place, a large courtroom distinguished by its specially carved woodwork, high ceilings and massive oak bench.

As I looked over the bench, I saw the adoptive mom and dad sitting behind the counsel talbe on the right and a lawyer and a caseworker behind the counsel table on the left. Dozens of people filled all of the other seats in the courtroom, but I did not see the little three-year-old girl who was the subject of the hearing.

Looking at the adoptive parents, I said “Someone’s missing here. Where’s the little girl?” They smiled, but before they could answer, I noticed near the back of the room a little head bobbing up and down. It was the little girl. She was running all around the courtroom saying “Hi!” to each person who came to share her special day.

I later discovered that the little girl’s running around the room was a story in itself. When this little girl was placed with this couple, she was nearly two years old, and at that time, she did not walk. She could stand up, but for the most part, because of developmental delay issues, she would only crawl. For those who knew this truth, it was heart-warming to see the little girl running around the courtroom, because only eight months earlier she could hardly walk at all.

After the witnesses were sworn, I began to listen to their testimony, and it was then that I heard the rest of the story. The couple testified that, for a number of years, they had tried to have children but were unsuccessful. The dad testified that he was then diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer, a type of cancer in which the tumor grew around the heart. “The doctors gave me no hope,” he told me “but they offered to give me an experimental treatment – even though they gave me no hope.”

The man took the treatment, and survived the cancer. Because of the cancer treatment, the man testified that it was no longer possible for his wife and him to have children naturally. Still wanting children, when they heard about Foster-To-Adopt Program sponsored by the local Children Services Board, they signed up and took classes. After they were certified, they waited for a placement. A year went by, but no child was placed with them. Another year went by with still no replacement. Children Services was probably concerned about placing a child with a man for whom the doctors had given “no hope.”

“My wife and I were getting discouraged and thought about dropping out of the program,” he continued to testify, “but in the third year, we received a call. The Children Services worker on the other end of the phone line said, “We think we have a little girl for you. Why don’t you come down and meet her?” With much anticipation, he and his wife drove down to the Children Services office.

“We went into a fairly large room filled with a lot of chairs lined up against the walls,” testified this man whom the doctors had given “no hope.” The man and his wife sat down in two of the chairs backed up against one of the walls and waited.

After a long wait, a caseworker opened the door across the room and walked in carrying the little girl who at that time was twenty months old. The worker walked across the room and set the little girl down in front of theman whom the doctors had given “no hope.”

The man testified that the little girl crawled up into his lap. He said, “I fell in love with her instantly, and the bond between us was sealed. I just knew that we would be allowed to take her home, adopt her, and that she would be ours.”

And the name of the little girl whom I first saw running around my courtroom saying, “Hi” to everyone, the name of the little girl who crawled up into the lap of the man whom the doctors had given “no hope,” the name she had been given at birth, her name was — Hope!

It was a courtroom encounter that I will always remember. There were no “muddied waters” that day, but only that which was peaceful and pure. That little girl’s story gave to me something that I never expected on that day. It gave me hope.

Table of Contents:

Moses in the Courtroom

A story of hope

The evidence

The gift of family

The big thing is the heart

The girl in the little red hat

The next generation

Boy and basketballs

Digging a hole to China

Can you give me a little time?

I threw away my cup