- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2011

During a ceremony at the D.C. Superior Courthouse Saturday, two brothers will gain not only new families but also new names during the court’s 25th annual Adoption Day.

For Joshua, 10, selecting a new name was a chance to pay tribute to his adoptive family while honoring his biological family. His new middle name, Reginald, is from his biological grandfather who cared for him until he died last year, explained his adoptive mother, Tyronetta Leech. And his newly hyphenated surname, Michael-Leech, was combined from the biological father he met for the first time this year and his adoptive parents.

At Saturday’s ceremony, Joshua and his 10-month-old brother will be among the more than 30 children who will have their adoptions finalized at the court, said Family Court Presiding Judge Zoe Bush. Though the ages and backgrounds of the children differ, the day will be a milestone in all their lives.

“They want someone to love them and they want a home to come to,” Judge Bush said. “It’s a human need.”

Though excited about final step in his adoption, Joshua was initially hesitant to let people know about his family.

“He has this thing about everybody knowing that he is adopted,” Mrs. Leech, 34, said. “I tell him it’s pretty cool he was able to choose his parents and they were able to choose him.”

The court’s adoption day is also a chance for prospective families to learn more about the process of adoption and to hear from some of the approximately 160 children who are currently available for adoption, said Judge Bush, who is also an adoptive parent.

For Mrs. Leech and her husband Timothy Leech, the ceremony will solidify their family, which includes three other adopted children, but will also bring a chapter of their lives to a close as they stop accepting foster children.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Mrs. Leech, adding the Fort Washington couple has fostered children since 2003. “But in my heart we are thinking later on in life we will do this again.”

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