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Teachers, classmates attend adoption ceremony of special-needs girl

Posted September 11

MILWAUKEE — When a 10-year-old girl’s adoption day happened to coincide with her first day of school, her classmates and teachers decided to bring the school to the courthouse.

Abby Novotny couldn’t wait for the day she’d be able to call her foster family her adoptive family, but she was also pretty excited to start at St. Coletta Day School — a Milwaukee program that serves children with special needs, Today reported.

So members of the staff asked Abby’s new mom, social worker Anne Novotny, if they could bring Abby’s classmates to the adoption proceedings to share in their friend’s big day. Novotny wholeheartedly agreed to the idea, and so all 24 of Abby’s classmates — along with four staff members — streamed into the courtroom to watch Abby officially become a Novotny.

“It was incredible,” Anne Novotny told ABC News. “The kids were so well-behaved but their faces, right when they saw Abby, gave her the homemade cards and the gifts … it was so thrilling for all of them.”

School administrator Bill Kuehn told Today that they kids couldn’t wait to share in Abby’s joy.

“There were hugs and high fives,” he said. “It was a little difficult for Abby to focus with all the attention, but she certainly had every understanding that this day was all about her.”

Abby had been fostered by the Novotny family for three years before she officially became Anne’s eighth adopted child. She gets to attend St. Colleta Day School with two of her adopted siblings — both of whom also have special needs.

“I was going into foster homes as a social worker and had opinions about how things should be better and different, so I started fostering,” the single mom told Today. “I had no intention of adopting, but I see it as God’s will in our lives.”

Shortly after the ceremony, the soon-to-be fifth-grader made sure to remind her teachers that they needed to change her last name on her name card at her desk, Today reports.

Anne Novotny was overwhelmed by the act of kindness and support from Abby’s school.

“Everywhere Abby looked there were kids, teachers, siblings, aunts and uncles,” she told ABC News. “She could hardly stop smiling.”

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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