She had also taken Margaret, Allison and John Patrick as foster children and decided that they, too, needed the permanency her home offered.
“I’m excited but a little nervous as well,” she said of her new role as parent of five.
Though when Lawliss asked Robert if he thought the family should stop at five children, the 7-year-old said he was looking for one more girl to even out the brothers and sisters.
“There are a lot of children out there who need a loving family,” Theresa said following the ceremony. “There are a lot of children in foster care who need loving care from a family.”
As the official ceremonies ended, Lawliss called his own two daughters, Katie and Molly, to act as elves and hand out early presents for the children. The kids unwrapped their presents to find a menagerie of stuffed animals to take with them as the sons and daughters of their new moms and dads.
“This has been a very special day,” Lawliss said after the formal proceedings. “We have many caseworkers and staff members here. My wife and children are here, my parents as well. Kevin’s parents are here. We all wanted to see this.
“Most people in Family Court know it can be filled with pain and agony,” he added. “I want to thank you all for letting us have such a nice day on Christmas Eve. I will remember it forever.”
Valerie Cioffi’s mom, Evelyn Miller, summed up the feelings of all involved:
“They’re my first grandbabies,” she said. “I love ‘em.”
Email Jeff Meyers: firstname.lastname@example.org