Darth Vader assists in Delaware adoption ceremony

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Delaware Family Court Judge Barbara Crowell dressed as Princess Leia as part of a Star Wars-themed adoption ceremony  at the New Castle County Courthouse Friday afternoon. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Delaware Family Court Judge Barbara Crowell dressed as Princess Leia as part of a Star Wars-themed adoption ceremony at the New Castle County Courthouse Friday afternoon. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

A short time ago, in a courthouse not too far away, four year old Zoe was officially adopted by Deanna Pedicone.

In preparation for the big day, Pedicone, who lives in Newark, asked Zoe who she wanted to come to the ceremony. “She said Darth Vader. Darth Vader is her favorite character,” Pedicone said. So with the help of Garrison Carida, the all-volunteer Star Wars Imperial costuming group, Darth Vader showed up Friday afternoon in courtroom 2C at the New Castle County Courthouse.

“The Force is strong with you,” Vader told Zoe before helping Family Court Judge Barbara Crowell make the adoption official. The Sith lord was joined by several storm troopers, R2-D2 and even Chewbacca. Once the ceremony was complete, the courtroom rang out with cheers and John Williams’ famous Star Wars soundtrack.

“When Deanna came to me with the idea, i thought, oh, that would be great,” Crowell said. “I didn’t know it was quite going to turn into what it did today, but she asked me if I’d be willing, and I said of course.” 

After the celebration, Pedicone reflected on what the adoption means for her family. “It’s like a weight I didn’t know I’d been carrying is now gone. Just to know that as i told her today, forever starts today. and it’s forever now. And i don’t have to worry ever again.” Zoe was Pedicone’s first foster child in 2013, just two weeks after Pedicone got her certification to be a foster parent.

Family Court averages between 170 and 210 adoptions every year. In FY 2016 the court handled 201. But none of those ceremonies were like this one.

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