Amid the waiting room and two courtrooms filled with the divorces of York County Family Court - the child abuse and neglect cases, the bitter custody battles where arguments raged over who gets the copper pots and the dog - a 9-year-old girl with braces showed a smile that made the despair of children go away.
Megan Kelley, a fourth-grader at Sugar Creek Elementary School in Fort Mill, sat in the courtroom, in a pretty dress.
Hope with blond hair.
Legally, until that moment, Megan was an orphan. Her parents died in the past year. She went to live with her grandparents, Sandra and Lawrence Britt.
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Megan listened to a Family Court judge named David Guyton say the magic words after a brief court hearing that came only after months of getting ready that made it all official.
"Megan, you are adopted."
This is National Adoption Month, and today is actually National Adoption Day. Nowhere in America could a scene as beautiful and touching play out as watching Megan Kelley hug her grandparents and say, "I waited for this day. I am adopted."
Sandra Britt said it best.
"Nobody can ever take her away from us. She is ours, and we are hers - forever."
Even the tough court bailiffs tucked heads into shoulders, so nobody could see them about to cry.
Megan's adoption process - spearheaded by the Britts' lawyer, Syretta Anderson of the Khaled Law Firm, which specializes in family law - started in April.
Anderson patiently took the Britts through it all - the required background checks and investigation done by a court-appointed guardian ad litem, the judicial requirements - so that on Friday the wait was over.
Judge Guyton knows about courtroom adoptions and what adoptive parents need to do. He is the parent of an adopted child.
He told those in the courtroom about the "horrible" cases of abuse and divorce and custody he has to see all week, every week.
But Friday was different.
Friday was a courtroom miracle, played out for the 70th time in York County this year. A child was adopted - and had a home forever.
"Thank God for grandparents," Guyton said, because grandparents are often the adopting couple in family adoptions.
But most kids in need of adoption do not have family to adopt them. They are in the care of social services agencies, in foster care - needing parents.
A national focus this year was placed on adopting children in foster care, said Dale Dove, a Rock Hill lawyer who specializes in adoptions and is a fellow with the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
Dove, who has helped steer more than 600 adoptions over the years, was honored in 2008 as one of the country's "Angels in Adoption" by then-President George W. Bush.
And the federal government has put its money where its advocacy is, too. There is a federal tax credit of more than $13,000 per child that can cover the costs of adoption, Dove said.
"What we really need in our community, and in every community, is more parents who are willing to adopt children - especially children with special needs or kids in foster care," Dove said. "Adoption is opening our hearts and our homes and giving a child a good, loving, caring home."
There is no doubt that Megan Kelley found her good, loving, caring home with her grandparents - now her legal parents.
"I love my Nana and my Papa," Megan said. "I am so happy."
"And we love her," said Lawrence Britt.
The Britts' patience paid off, the perseverance of their lawyer, Syretta Anderson, paid off. Megan Kelley had legal parents on Friday.
The family left, to go to Charlotte to The Palm restaurant for a fancy lunch on this most special occasion. If there is a kid who deserves a lunch outside the school cafeteria, Megan Kelley is it.
The question out there now is, will other kids who need adoptive parents find them?
Want to learn more
Adoptions can be performed through public agencies - such as the state Department of Social Services - and private agencies. To learn more about the process, go to dss.sc.gov, or call 803-898-7318.