-- One Disney-obsessed little girl got a true fairy-tale ending to an already magical day yesterday in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Danielle Koning, 5, couldn’t believe her eyes when her favorite princesses showed up in the courtroom for her adoption finalization hearing.
“She was shocked when the princesses first came in. She sure was,” Danielle’s new mom, Sarah Koning, told ABC News of the special surprise. “The look on her face was priceless.”
Danielle has been fostering with the Konings since March 2014 and the family was thrilled to complete the adoption princess, but it was her caseworker’s idea to arrange for Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Elsa and Ariel, just to name a few, to arrive in support of the little girl’s wonderful day.
“It was a special situation that really snowballed out of a request form Danielle’s caseworker, who knew Danielle loved Cinderella so much,” Laura Mitchell, executive director for Samaritas Foster Care Program and Child and Family services, explained. “One of other caseworkers kind of looks like Cinderella, so she said, ‘Would you mind going to the hearing and dressing as Cinderella?’”
The idea originated at a staff meeting and once other employees got word, they began stepping forward to participate.
Even Judge Patricia Gardner revealed a Snow White costume beneath her robe.
“I think it’s really important to make that adoption day special for every kid in whatever capacity you can,” said Koning. “No matter what, if kids have been bounced around a lot, it really helps them to feel the permanency and know that they’re not going anywhere now. It’s really important for kids to feel that security.”
“It’s obviously a very meaningful day, a joyous occasion,” Mitchell added. “The hearing is definitely a celebration that the kids now have forever families. And it shows the love and compassion that our case workers have.”
Danielle’s proud new family said the entire occasion is “still a little surreal.”
“We’ve been waiting so long for it and it feels really good to be able to settle and be a real family,” said Koning. “We have been a real family, but to not have that looming over our head anymore is a pretty amazing feeling.”
It’s safe to say Danielle will now live happily ever after with her new “forever family.”
Disney is the parent company of ABC News.