It’s not often that applause breaks out in a courtroom and the cheers are coming from everyone there. That’s what happened Friday when a Navy veteran and his wife became the parents of Tucker James Greenback.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Linda Krese’s courtroom was packed with the friends and families of Patrick Greenback, 32, and his 30-year-old wife Melinda.
For 10 years, the Arlington couple hoped and tried for a baby. That hope became real when a relative gave birth to an infant she couldn’t care for. Tucker, now 2, was born affected by his birth mother’s substance abuse. After more than a week’s withdrawal, the Greenbacks took him home from the hospital and cared for him as their own.
He became their son — forevermore — as the Superior Court and the county clerk’s office celebrated National Adoption Day for the 14th year. Tucker was one of 18 children adopted during the event in Snohomish County. Nationwide, National Adoption Day is meant to raise awareness of the more than 117,000 children in foster care awaiting permanent, loving families.
Parents of all ages and their kids packed the jury assembly room for a celebration during a break in adoption proceedings. There were refreshments and games, Webbly, the Everett AquaSox mascot, and a science demonstration by Nick Spicher with Imagine Children’s Museum.
County Executive Dave Somers spoke of the need for adoptive families locally. There are more than 1,300 children in foster care in Snohomish County, he said, and at least 300 permanently separated from birth parents and waiting for adoption.
In their mid-60s, Robin and Philip Geveshausen are officially new parents. With Snohomish County Superior Court Judge David Kurtz presiding, they adopted Philip’s 6-year-old grandson, Donovan John-Philip Geveshausen.
“It’s been a long process, and very painful at times,” said Robin Geveshausen, a new mom at 66. Donovan has been with them “on and off for six years,” she said. “Now we know he’ll be with us forever.”
They recently moved to Poulsbo from Lynnwood. Long ago, 65-year-old Philip Geveshausen said, they were high school sweethearts in Long Beach, California. They’ve been married 18 years.
“There’s a lot of history here,” Kurtz told the Geves-hausens before letting Donovan sit in his big chair and strike the gavel.
Attorney Steve Gish worked with a Spanish-speaking interpreter as Joaquin Gonzales and Maria De La Cruz Martinez-Lopez adopted a curly-haired 3-year-old daughter, whose first name became Fernanda.
Through the interpreter, Gish asked the Marysville couple if they are husband and wife — they are — and whether they believed the adoption was in the best interest of the little girl.
“This is a good thing that has happened,” Kurtz told the interpreter, who relayed his comments in Spanish. The judge then let the couple know that “Fernanda is now a member of your family.” Saying, “I understand that you have ties to Mexico,” Kurtz shared that he and his wife have hosted a number of exchange students from Mexico.
Being held in strong arms, 2-month-old Paige Sullivan Hebrank was too young to know that Friday she officially became the daughter of Jeffrey Hebrank and Christopher Sullivan. Married five years, the Woodinville couple previously adopted their son, Reed Sullivan Hebrank, now a year-and-a-half.
Both 33, Hebrank is a software engineer with Microsoft. These days, Sullivan is a stay-at-home dad. As the family waited to enter Kurtz’s courtroom, Reed paid more attention to Lucy, the courthouse dog, than to his new baby sister.
Paige’s adoption was arranged through LifeLong Adoptions in Virginia, where she was born Sept. 12. Within a week, the men were on a flight to bring her home. “Her mom had picked us,” Hebrank said. Reed was born in Oregon.
The couple picked names evoking literacy — Paige and Reed sound like page and read.
“This is a special family before me,” Kurtz told those in his courtroom as Paige’s adoption was completed.
Every family is different. On Adoption Day in Snohomish County, every family is special.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.