KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 50 children got new parents Friday as Oahu Family Court celebrated what it called "Adoption Day" at the Ronald T.Y. Moon Judiciary Complex in Kapolei.
Those parents included Robert and Connie Oh, who entered the court of Senior Family Court Judge Mark Browning to have him grant their adoption of two-year-old Luke.
Luke, who came from Korea, has actually been staying with the family since July. But Judge Browning made the adoption legal -- and irreversible.
"He's been our son, and we've been enjoying him, and he's been a part of our family from the start, so this just helps us finalize it," said Connie Oh.
The Ohs were just one of more than 40 families who adopted a total of 53 children, ranging in age from six months to 18 years. Six judges had nothing but adoption cases on their calendars all afternoon. Family Court cases, including adoptions, are usually confidential, but today's proceedings were opened to the media.
For the judges, it was a welcome change from hearing cases about children in trouble. "Almost every single one of them comes from some broken home or has no family whatsoever," said Senior Family Court Judge R. Mark Browning.
"We're celebrating a gift, not just a blessing of them loving a child or loving children, but it's a celebration of a gift that they're giving us as a community, because these children who are being adopted are children I don't have to worry about," said Browning.
This celebration included items not normally seen in a courtroom, including toys on Judge Browning's desk for the children, donated by his staff. In the courtroom of Judge Catherine Remigio, the families of newly-adopted babies were given booties and blankets that were crocheted by Remigio's mother. One of the babies who received the booties was seven-month-old Raiden Nishimura, with his new parents Lance and Janice Nishimura, who adopted him from Japan.
"We couldn't ask for anything better," said Janice. "And we got our son. And he's awesome."
Some of the families said they adopted because they were unable to produce biological children.
"Pregnancy is about 40 weeks, nine to ten months," said Robert Oh, who's also a physician. "It took 20 months to finalize this adoption. So it's a long journey."
Robert and Connie Oh earlier adopted a girl, Emily. Now she'll have a little brother.
"It's all done, and he's a part of our family," said Robert Oh. "He's a part of our forever family, and it just makes it real."