One of Linde's final acts: Finalizing adoption, raising awareness of children in foster care

One of Superior Court Judge John Linde
One of Superior Court Judge John Linde's final acts was presiding over the county's first participation in National Adoption Day, Nov. 20, in San Juan County Superior Court. That day, Linde finalized an adoption by speakerphone. The day was festive, with balloons, face painting and treats.
— image credit: Jane K. Fox

In San Juan County Superior Court, where John Linde presided over such controversial matters as civil complaints, felonies, and land use disputes, Nov. 20 was undoubtedly a joyful day for the career lawyer and judge.

On that day, Linde finalized an adoption, uniting a child with his new parents. It was the first county participation in National Adoption Day, a collective national effort to raise awareness of children in foster care waiting to find permanent families.

The mood was light and cheerful in the courthouse that day. Local adoptive parents, social workers and, of course, children, gathered to celebrate National Adoption Day. In Linde's court, children celebrated the day with balloons, painted faces and treats.

Linde, who died suddenly Dec. 3 while vacationing in Hawaii, had a long-time interest in the well-being of children. As an attorney, one of his specialties was family law. As judge, family law fell under his jurisdiction. As a community member, had served on the board of the Friday Harbor Athletic Association, Inter Island Medical Center, San Juan Community Theatre, San Juan Golf and Country Club, and San Juan Little League.

Nov. 20 was the first time that San Juan County officially celebrated and focused the spotlight on the day, and the event was not half-hearted. Aside from balloons donated by King's Market, and an array of baked goods donated by Cafe Demeter, Holly B's and the Naked Bean, the adoption was finalized in the presence of the crowd. This was a special occasion as adoption is usually a closed process.

The couple, Jackie Lloyd and Rose Rhnea Thomas, are Alabamians adopting a San Juan County child. They agreed to have the final stage of their adoption process made public over speakerphone.

Anthony Vivenzio, the new parents' attorney, was moved to say, "This is the happiest part of my job."

The proceedings were brief, but the outcome poignant. With the couple now the official parents of Jaden, there were many smiles among the parents in the crowd who themselves experienced the adoption process.

The new parents signed off from the court with well wishes from Judge Linde, saying they were going out with Jaden to celebrate.

There were then proclamations read — from the state Supreme Court, Gov. Christine Gregoire, Mayor David Jones, and the San Juan County Council — each encouraging increased awareness of adoption and highlighting that every child deserves a loving home.

With the close of the official ceremony, the crowd was free to move around, enjoy the treats and face painting supplied by the Soroptimists.

It was a successful beginning to the new tradition of celebrating National Adoption Day in San Juan County.

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