In third grade I wrote a paper entitled, “Officially a Grunewald.” And in the way that only a third grader could write, it recorded the events of a very important day in my life:
Last year on October 17, 1995, I missed a half day of school because I went to court. When we were at home, my mom gave me a chain with a cross on it. My brother, Corey, got a chain with a cross in the middle of a heart, and my sister, Molly, got a necklace that had a G in the middle of the heart because we became Grunewalds.
The judge asked my mom and dad a lot of questions. While we were getting our picture taken, I banged the hammer the judge uses. I got my picture taken with Corey, Molly and the judge. Second, we got a picture taken with my mom, my dad, Corey, Molly, the judge and I. The judge got to hold Molly every single time.
I officially became a Grunewald. When we left we ate at the Clock. I had scrambled eggs. Corey had Mickey Mouse pancakes, and Molly had French toast.
My mom brought me back to school after everyone finished eating. Everyone asked me where I was. I said, “At court.” The kids in my class asked, “Do you have to go to jail?” I was proud the day my stepdad adopted me and I officially became a Grunewald.
On October 17, 1995, in a courthouse, not because of anything I had done and not because of anything my brother or sister had done, but solely because of the love of my dad, I was declared a Grunewald. It had nothing to do with my decisions or behavior, but simply because my dad said before the judge, “I will love these children as my very own children,” everything changed.