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Children’s Law Center’s Mallory Martin served as a guardian ad litem for Norman Moore, a 5-year-old whose adoption was finalized on November 17, Adoption Day 2012.
Norman has a big family. At his house it’s him, two dads, and two dogs, but that’s just the beginning – he has another mom and dad and two brothers in the area, not to mention doting grandparents in Texas and Louisiana. On Adoption Day 2012, Norman officially became a son to Chad Copeland and Kevin Ward. They met Norman in January 2011. “I remember this little kid coming in, peeking out from behind the legs of the social worker,” Ward said. “It just has felt so right, right from the start,” he continued. “It’s been impossible not to get attached to this little boy.”
Norman came into foster care after being removed from the care of his birth father, who was his primary caregiver. Copeland and Ward worked to make sure Norman’s birth father – as well as birth mother and half brothers, stay in the picture. Copeland credited Norman’s birth father with getting the boy on the right track: “We always wanted him to know, he did lots right because Norman is a great kid.” And they are expecting to spend some time around the holidays with Norman’s birth mother and brothers.
In nearly two years together, Copeland and Ward said Norman has “just blossomed,” and has a real love for school and learning. In fact, Norman was upset when Hurricane Sandy closed school for two days. He likes to read, do puzzles and mazes, and draw – especially maps, Ward noted, perhaps showing an early analytical side. But for all his studies, Norman is still very much enjoying the freedom of childhood. “He’s got this innocence to him that I hope I had as a kid,” Copeland said.
Copeland himself was adopted as a child, and in turn he felt strongly that he wanted to give a safe, loving, permanent home to another child who was up for adoption. He and Ward explained to Norman that there was an important meeting – i.e., the adoption trial – and the decision was made that they get to stay a family forever. As for Adoption Day, they’ve explained to Norman that his family is just getting bigger; he still has his mom and dad, but now he has two more dads as well. And the process went so well that Copeland said he and Ward are talking about doing it again. They just refreshed their license as foster parents. So Norman’s family may be getting even bigger in the next few years.
I wouldn’t have been able to afford the legal help that I got. The legal assistance I got was equivalent to a Wall Street law firm. That’s how hard Children’s Law Center worked. I could never have paid for what I received from them.