For many, sitting in a courtroom before a Johnson County judge would be a frightening thing.
It was a dream come true for the Feltz family.
“Right before Christmas, it’s such a blessing,” said Nicole Feltz.
On Wednesday morning Nicole, her husband, Tyler, and their 12-year-old daughter, Grace, sat before Judge Kathleen Sloan to finalize their adoption of 2-year-old Meah. They had been fostering Meah for the last two years.
Judge Sloan granted them their wish four days before Christmas.
“These are really the best hearings we get to have in this courthouse, in the state, in the entire country,” Sloan told 41 Action News. “They came in happy and I got to leave happier. Judges don’t get to do that very often.”
— Ariel Rothfield KSHB (@arothfield) December 21, 2016
The Feltzs first welcomed Meah into their home when she was six months old. Sick and frail, they picked her up from Children’s Mercy and immediately started loving her like their own. The adoption process took nearly two years.
"It feels good to have a sister and finally call her ‘mine’ and not worry that she is going to another family,” said Grace.
"How can you have kids out there and not help,” added Tyler Feltz.
But this family’s fairytale started long before two years ago. It actually began when Nicole was 10 years old. She was taken to a shelter and then to live with relatives after it was decided her mom was unfit to care for her and her brother.
“To know what a normal home-life felt like is so important and I hadn’t had that until I was older,” she said. “I’m proof that until somebody shows you that they love you, you don’t have a future.”
That’s what inspired her and her husband to start fostering kids five years ago. And that’s what led them to their happily ever after with Grace and little Meah — their forever family.
“I can’t imagine [living without them], either one of my girls. I can’t imagine,” said Tyler Feltz. "They’re all princesses for me, I love them all.”
Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.