May the love be with you.
What would you do for somebody you loved?
Most adults and older siblings are familiar with going above and beyond for children. Whether for a birthday or when overcoming an illness, spoiling a child brings out something very human and raw inside of us.
For Deanna Pedicone of Wilmington, Delaware, her perfect opportunity to not only make a child’s day but change her life came recently when she formally adopted her foster daughter, four-year-old Zoe.
What is normally an emotional but straightforward legal ceremony was instead transformed into an unforgettable moment from another galaxy, and you have to see it to believe it.
In 2013, Zoe was but an infant when she arrived at Deanna Pedicone’s house, just two weeks after Pedicone became licensed to be a foster parent.
Although Deanna was nervous at first, she explained that there was an instant connection between the two:
“I describe it as the weirdest blind date ever. They drop the kid off, they leave 20 minutes later and you sit there and wonder, ‘When is your mom going to come and get you?’
“One of the challenges is their story already started, so you have to figure out what the plot is. It’s like the story is already moving and you come in at chapter 10 and you don’t really know what happened before, so you start building that relationship and help them move in a direction that is more typical of a family: eating together at a table, sleeping in our own beds, taking a bath and not being frightened by that […] It’s a very thoughtful way to have to parent.”
As the years went by, Deanna knew she didn’t want Zoe to go anywhere, so she applied for adoption.
Her decision was influenced by a medical issue that Zoe had; after that scare, Deanna felt confident she wanted to keep Zoe safe forever.
In October, the adoption papers came through. “That’s when I cried. I didn’t real how much I worried about her future until someone said your application has been approved.”
But Deanne knew she wanted their special day to be especially memorable for Zoe, now four. “Some friends had sent me this really sweet video of a girl who had gotten adopted with princesses coming to her adoption and said, ‘You should do this.’
“So I asked [Zoe]: If you could have anybody at your adoption hearing, who would you have? She said family and friends. I told her which family and friends were coming and then I said, ‘How about anybody else?’ She said, ‘Darth Vader.’ “
That’s when Deanna’s idea took root.
The Force is strong in our family.
“This is her day,” Pedicone later told the news. “She is old enough to remember it, and I want it to be as fun as possible.”
And we doubt Zoe will ever forget when the courtroom was transformed into a galaxy far, far away.
After the legal ceremony, the lights dimmed as characters from Star Wars, Zoe’s favorite franchise, entered the room, lightsabers and all.
But the best part was the judge herself…