Dozens of families grew larger today as Allegheny County family court judges finalized the adoptions of 49 children.
"I am very happy to sign this order," Judge Kathleen R. Mulligan told Terry and Carol Bouchard, of Brookline, as two dozen family members and spectators applauded.
Judge Mulligan then stepped down from the bench to present their new daughter, Lexie J. Bouchard, 9, with a stuffed bear.
The court proceedings were the highlights of the National Adoption Day program that drew hundreds of people Downtown to the county's Family Law Center.
While families waited for their final sessions with the judges, children and adults were entertained by magicians, a juggler, a balloon artist and a ventriloquist. Mr. McFeely, the "Speedy Delivery" postman from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," chatted with and signed photos for participants and their brothers and sisters. He also is known as David Newell.
"There usually is a lot of pain, fear and anguish in this building," Judge Mulligan said. "But it is transformed on adoption day."
"This is one of the best days we have here," agreed Marc Cherna, director of the county's Department of Human Services.
The children adopted today range from 1 to 14 years of age, according to the department. Their average age is about 4 1/2.
Len Barcousky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-772-0184.