Five families celebrate Cumberland County's first public adoption ceremony


It is an emotional process that can take years to complete, every story is different, and whether the process took three years or three months, Thursday was a special day for these families.

All children are taught to listen to their parents. However, until Thursday, these adults and children were not legally bound, so those instructions became less agitating and more like music to their ears.

Five families celebrate during Cumberland County's first public adoption ceremony. Each story is unique, for Sujung Ra it starts with his sister-in-law in Korea.

"His mom is very sick right now, so we decided to take care of him," said adoptive father Sujung Ra.

Now all he needs his 12-year-old nephew, Yi Sak Kim to know is that he is a son, with a brother, sister, and mother. There is a safe place.

"I will give him my love. I will support him, and this was in God's plan," Ra said.

God's plan also brought the Cullitons together.

"Well how did we get to this day? Ashley and I met six years ago, and Culton was almost two," said adoptive father Don Culliton.

They have been a family, but putting the paperwork, and putting a heart on this family tree is sacred.

Judge Kim Tucker's staff began planning this when Tucker took the clerk of superior court position last year. For the former district court judge, the ceremony was nothing short of memorable.

"The thing that hit me today is there was a family that had two children who were being adopted, and I don't know if ya'll could hear, but when they turned around to walk off, they looked up at their father and said 'now, we're a real family.' And I thought, I know the children know what this means, I know they do," Tucker said.

The first ceremony was originally scheduled for Valentine's Day, but was cancelled due to the snow. Judge Tucker says she expects it will be a regularly scheduled celebration from now on.

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