First Grader Abby Novotny enjoyed two momentous days in one: her first day of school and her adoption finalization.

Not wanting to miss the first day of school, yet unwilling to not appear on court on her special day, Abby invited her class of 24 friends to show up in court with her. It was actually her mother’s idea to invite the group. So the celebration took place, and Abby welcomed the attention and support.

Abby’s mother, Anne, isn’t new to adopting foster children. A social worker by profession, Anne believes in the power of family. Not wanting foster children to have to endure continued bouncing from one home to another, when a foster child placed in Anne’s care becomes legally available for adoption, she adopts them. There are now eight adopted children in the Novotny family, Abby being the newest. Two of Abby’s adopted siblings share a classroom with her.