Abby Novotny, age 10, was beyond overjoyed about becoming formally adopted. However, there was a concern Abby would face.
The adoption proceedings at the Milwaukee County Children's Courthouse also happened to fall on her first day of school at St. Coletta Day School, which serves children with special needs.
This school happened to do something very special for Abby. Two dozen of her classmates and four staff members witnessed the heartwarming moment on August 29, when the former Abigail Turner officially became Abby Novotny.
"Many hadn't seen her until our last day on June 10 so they were very excited,'' stated St. Coletta administrator, Bill Kuehn. “There were hugs and high fives. 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."
She is the eighth adopted child of Anne Novotny, 50, a social worker in Milwaukee. Abby had been living with the family as a foster child for the last three years. August 29th, she became an official member of the Novotny family.
"It doesn't get old,'' Anne Novotny told TODAY, "Abby is my eighth adoption, and I can honestly say that each one is unique and wonderful every time. It rises to the level of giving birth to your own child."
Abby, who is one of three special needs children of Novotny's who attend St. Coletta Day School. Abby hadn't seen her classmates since the last day of the previous school year. Her classmates showing up made it an extra special event.
"When I told her they were going to be at the adoption, she was so happy she almost cried,'' Novotny said, ”For a 10-year-old who's lower functioning to know the importance of it — I saw nothing but pure joy for her."
As she tightly grasped a sign made by her social worker with her new name on it, Abby also insisted her teachers they needed to update the classroom.
"At the end of the court hearing she said to her teacher, 'Did you put 'Abby Novotny' on my desk yet?' She is so thrilled to be Abby Novotny officially," Novotny said.
Novotny's children range in age from her biological son, Jim, 30, to the three elementary school students. Three others have graduated from college. Novotny’s fourth college attending is still currently a college student. She has raised them all by herself and now also has two granddaughters. "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,'' she said. ”I had no intention of adopting, but I see it as God's will in our lives."
"When they kids are older, they really know the (adoption) day is about them,'' she said, "They can really relish in the joy of family."
This may have just been another day for the rest of the world, but today was Abby Novotny’s best day ever.